Portable electrical heaters can be an easy way to keep warm inside, especially if you’re looking to only heat one room or want to avoid switching on your central heating.
However, these portable heaters carry high fire risk.
The London Fire Brigade says in the last five years it has attended more than 1,200 fires caused by these types of heaters, with 14 of these fires being fatal.
In 2021, there has been 160 heating-related fires in London alone resulting in more than 20 people suffering injuries.
As we approach winter and the temperature continues to drop, many individuals are spending more time indoors with heaters switched on to take the chill out of the air.
But if portable heaters are used to dry clothes or are left too close to items such as bedding, blankets or paperwork, they can catch light and cause a fire.
People with mobility issues are especially at risk of tripping or falling onto a heater – making placing heaters at a safe distance all the more important.
However, fires involving heaters can be prevented by taking sensible precautions.
Some kinds of heaters also present a carbon monoxide (CO) risk, which can be fatal. Known as ‘The Silent Killer’, CO is a highly poisonous gas which cannot be seen, smelt or tasted.
If you’re suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, it can make you drowsy and less able to escape. The only way to be alerted to carbon monoxide is by placing an audible CO alarm 1-3 metres away from any fuel-burning appliance or in highly populated areas such as bedrooms, kitchens or living rooms.
If you’re using a portable heater to warm your home this winter, make sure you’re taking sensible steps to stay safe indoors. Keep loved ones protected by ensuring you have smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in place to alert you as soon as possible should an incident occur.