“Always check heaters for damage before you use them, even if they are brand new or have been stored in a box over the summer months,” Mr Lamont said.
“Before you switch on your heater, check for any damage to the supply cord, plug and body of the heater, remove any dust and look though the grill to see if there is a dislodged element inside which could cause a safety hazard.”
Mr Lamont warned faulty or misused heaters could cause injuries, property damage and fires.
“If you have an electric fan heater or radiant heater, it is important to ensure you place it away from any combustible items like curtains, and check that the fan runs freely when you turn the heater on.
“If you still have safety doubts, have it checked by a licensed electrical contractor or discard it.
“If your heater isn’t safe, it simply isn’t worth the risk of using it. You can’t put a price on the safety of you or your family.”
Mr Lamont said children and pets should always be supervised near a heater when in use.
“Be sensible and make sure young children and animals do not come into contact with the heated equipment as this raises the risk of injury and fire if it is knocked over or clothing catches fire,” he said.
Mr Lamont said you can also greatly minimise the risk of injury by having a safety switch installed in the home and testing it regularly.
“Householders should also take precautions when using clothes dryers during the wetter and colder months, and the clothes dryer should be regularly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
“In particular householders should regularly clean the lint filter, exhaust duct, vent
and the exterior of the dryer.”“Safety switches are lifesaving devices that cut off the electricity supply when current is detected leaking from faulty equipment or wiring. Every householder should have one installed by a licensed electrical contractor.”
Mr Lamont said to safeguard your family, home and possessions this winter you should:
• Have a safety switch installed at home if one is not already present.
• Ensure all heaters are switched off when leaving the home. • Ensure extension leads are fully uncoiled, as coiled leads can cause overheating.
• Do not leave heaters unattended and do not allow children or pets to play, sit or lay too close to the heater.
• Never use portable heaters in wet areas such as bathrooms.
• Check older room heaters for build up of dust, fluff or lint before use, clean the external surfaces and air vents and check that any fan runs freely.
• Ensure all heaters – new or old – are checked for broken or damaged parts before use. If they are damaged, either safely dispose them, return to the place of purchase or get them repaired by a licensed electrical contractor. Never attempt to do it yourself.
• Never use heaters with a double adaptor. • Avoid leaving heaters close to combustible items such as bedding, furniture, curtains or other hazardous items.
• Make sure the heater is properly cleaned and stored safely at the end of the season to prevent dust accumulation or damage. For further information on safety switches and electrical safety visit
www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au or call the Electrical Safety Office on 1300 650 662.