Pointe Coupee Electric promotes safe use of electric heating products

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

NEW ROADS - When used properly and safely, electric blankets and other heating devices can help keep you toasty during cold winter months. Here are a few safety tips from Pointe Coupee Electric for you to keep in mind when using electric blankets and heating pads:

• Purchase items only if they have been approved by an independent testing facility, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

• Inspect all cords and connections for cracks and frayed edges, which are a huge fire and injury hazard. Replace blankets or heating pads with faulty cords.

• Discard your blanket or heating pad if you see dark or charred spots on the surface.

• Do not put another cover on top of an electric blanket unless the safety instructions included in the packaging specifically state it is safe to do so. Some newer models protect against overheating.

• Once your electric blanket or heating pad is switched on, keep it laid flat - a folded device can cause a fire, as can a blanket that’s been tucked in which can bend wires.

• Never use heated bedding while asleep -look for a model with a timer that switches off automatically.

• Do not drink water or other liquid beverages while using your electric blanket. Remember: Water and electricity do not mix. A spill could cause shock, injury or death.

If you choose to use a space heater to supplement your home’s heating system, some of the same rules of thumb apply, including purchasing a safety-certified model and reading the included safety instructions. More tips for space heaters:

• Keep units at least three ft. away from combustible materials -such as bedding, drapes, clothes, and rugs. Space heaters also have parts that can spark, so avoid using them in areas where you store flammable liquids like kerosene and gasoline.

• In general, plugging space heaters directly into a wall outlet is best. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s the correct type and boasts the right wire gauge size for your particular space heater. Otherwise, use a wall socket that can handle the load.

• Check safety instructions before using a space heater around water - some models are not intended for use in bathrooms.

• Be sure children are supervised around space heaters. Curious exploration can lead to electrical shock and burns.

• Finally, unplug and store the space heater in a safe place when you’re not using it.