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12/10/2012 - USFA: Portable heating fires led to 150 injuries from 2008-10

Portable heating units contribute to fire totals nationwide each year.

In an effort to use less oil, many people during the winter months use portable heaters to keep their homes warm. But as a recent report from the U.S. Fire Administration indicates, these heaters occasionally result in fires.

In a new report released by the USFA, titled "Portable Heating Fires in Residential Buildings," there were approximately 900 fires that occurred as a result of these heaters between 2008 and 2010, leading to 150 injuries and an estimated $53 million in property insurance losses.

The report also detailed how these accidents got started. More than half of the blazes that occurred - 52% - were due to the heating system being too close to something that could catch fire, such as a curtain or furniture.

To ensure that these kinds of incidents don't occur, USFA says homeowners should make safety a priority when using portable fire heaters by making sure there's plenty of clearance between the heater and anything it's pointed toward. In addition, residents should turn them off when going to bed or leaving the house for several hours.

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