Space heaters and similar equipment are the leading cause of home fires during December, January and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Most accidents involving space heaters are the result of human error such as heaters being placed too close to combustible material like drapes and furniture. Improperly maintained equipment is another contributing cause.
To ensure safety, use the following tips and share them with your friends and family:
- Give space heaters plenty of space. Space heaters pose a higher risk of fire and death than central heating systems. Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including walls.
- Unplug the heater every time you leave the room and when you go to bed.
- Plug electric space heaters into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
- Make sure the plug fits snugly in the outlet, since a loose plug can overheat. If you're using the space heater in the bathroom, be sure to use a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Remember, electricity and water do not mix.
- Don't hide the cord under a rug or carpet. This can cause the cord to overheat and start a fire.
- Keep it stable. Don't put your space heater on plush carpet or other surfaces where the space heater may tip over easily.
- Check the tag. Make sure an independent testing laboratory (Underwriters Laboratories) has approved your new space heater.
- Space heaters should be on timers when you're at home.
Portable fuel-burning generators may be used to supply electricity for the operation of small electrical appliances in the event of a power outage. While a generator can be convenient during an outage, potentially serious hazards exist if a generator is not used or connected properly. No matter how you plan to use a generator, always review the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use and maintenance of the system.
Electric customers should call the AEP Texas Customer Solutions Center (866-223-8508) to report downed power lines, power outages and any unsafe conditions. Customers may want to have a copy of their electric bill on hand, which contains their ESI ID number. This will help expedite service if they are transferred to an automated system.
Customers on life support or who require an uninterrupted power supply should make alternative arrangements in case of an extended outage. Weather conditions may impede AEP Texas’ ability to access certain areas.
AEP Texas serves approximately one million electric consumers in the deregulated Texas marketplace. As an energy delivery (wires) company, AEP Texas delivers electricity safely and reliably to homes, businesses and industry across its nearly 100,000 square mile service territory in west and south Texas. AEP Texas also builds new power lines, restores service following outages and handles electric metering REPs throughout its service territory. The company also connects or disconnects service upon the orders of the REPs.