Focus on Winter Space Heater Safety







Nearly every winter in the Pittsburgh region, someone is killed, injured or loses a home in an accident involving space heaters.

This winter the West Penn Burn Center, part of the Allegheny Health Network, has partnered with Etna Volunteer Fire Department, and Monroeville Volunteer Fire Company #1, to bring you the “Space Heaters Need Space” campaign.

“Space Heaters Need Space” aims to bring awareness to the risks associated with the improper use of space heaters. Just a few of the recent space heater-related fires in the Pittsburgh area include a February 2015 incident in which an East Hills woman died after flammable items were left too close to a space heater and caught fire, and a January 2015 fire in which three Point Breeze residents, including an infant, lost their home.

“Home heating fires are a significant problem in the United States. 130,000 home fires were reported in 2014. Of these fires, home heating was the second leading cause, with space heaters being a significant part of that problem. About 16,000 people were injured and 3,000 killed,” said Gregory Porter, Chief of Etna Volunteer Fire Department.

Informational fliers with essential safety guidelines available on request to senior citizen groups, colleges and universities, or community groups.

 “By making small conscious choices with space heater use, the public can remain safe while staying warm,” said West Penn Burn Center Medical Director Ariel Aballay, MD.

The video demonstration took place in the controlled environment of the Monroeville Fire Training Center. During the demonstration members of Etna Volunteer Fire Department and Monroeville Volunteer Fire Company #1 show just how quickly a small space heater can ignite a large and disastrous fire when misused.

All of the resources of the “Space Heaters Need Space” campaign will be featured on the Allegheny Health Network Facebook and Twitter in addition to being available on the West Penn Burn Center website and Facebook page.

The West Penn Burn Center encourages everyone to take safety precautions when using space heaters and any other alternative heating equipment this winter.