During the chilly winter months, many people use space heaters for instant heat to stay warm. Unfortunately, every year there are home fires that involve injuries and deaths as a result of space heaters. In fact, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Most home fires that involve space heaters occur during the months of December, January, and February. Because the winter months are a peak time for people to use heaters, it is important that people know how to use space heaters correctly including:

  • Keep heaters at least three feet from clothing, furniture and other objects.
  • Don’t leave space heaters unattended. Turn them off when you leave the room.
  • Turn off the space heater when you go to sleep.
  • Watch children around space heaters.
  • Only use a space heater on a flat surface.
  • Never plug a space heater into an extension cord.
  • Don’t use space heaters that have cracks or any signs of damage.
  • Only use space heaters with an automatic shut off function.
  • Confirm your fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working.

Oftentimes space heaters are used correctly, but they may malfunction due to defects. While most new space heaters have built in safety devices such as a high limit control and automatic shut off, things can go wrong and a switch or part could be defective. For example, if there was an electrical malfunction or a problem with the high limit control of the heater, the space heater can ignite and cause a fire. Other defects could include heaters that were not manufactured with sufficient thermal protection. Additionally, sometimes space heaters don’t have an over-heating protection device.

When a fire occurs due to any of these defects, manufacturers should be held accountable. If a space heater was improperly designed or poorly manufactured, resulting in a wrongful death, the manufacturer of the space heater may be held liable for fire damages and losses. Additionally, manufacturers should be held liable for selling space heaters to consumers without the proper stickers and adequate warning labels.

When a space heater is sold on the market but isn’t reasonably safe for use by the public due to the chance of it overheating and catching on fire, a victim’s family should pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. If you have lost a loved one due to a malfunctioning space heater, please contact the Law Offices of David Benenfeld to speak with a South Florida wrongful death attorney. You can reach our office for a free consultation at [number type=”2″] or [number type=”1″] today.