Consumer Product Safety

NITE Alert_54

October 31, 2002

Alert - Safety tips for using electric heaters
<Based on accident information collected in 2001>

With the approach of colder weather, heating appliances will be used with increasing frequency. There are many fire cases involving electric heating appliances among the accident information cases collected by the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE). This safety alert has been issued in an attempt to prevent further accidents by highlighting some of these cases.

1. Case examples

Of the 1,569 cases collected by NITE in FY2001, a total of 59 accident cases were caused by electric heating appliances: electric heaters in 45 cases, followed by electric fan heaters in 4 cases, oil heaters in 4 cases, halogen heaters in 3 cases and electric hot-air heaters in 3 cases.

Of these, 53 cases were accidental fires, and in some cases, premises were burnt down with some fatalities. Investigations found that 22 of the 53 accidents were presumably caused by misuse or negligence of the users or the injured parties.

The following are some of examples of accidents caused by “misuse or negligence". Case 1 is the most commonly occurring case:

  • (1) Bedding came into contact with heater and caught fire when turning over in bed.
  • (2) User left bedding in contact with electric fan heater while asleep. The bedding overheated and caused a fire.
  • (3) A towel placed on a hanger above to dry dropped onto the electric heater, ignited and cause a fire.
  • (4) When children were playing with an electric heater, a cotton blanket ignited and caused a fire.
  • (5) When the resident was out, the pet turtle knocked over the electric heater, which had been left on, and caused a fire.
  • (6) Newspaper came in contact with the electric heater and caught fire and subsequently spread the fire to surrounding flammable materials.
  • (7) When using the electric heater while a window was open, a drape was fanned by the wind and caught fire from the heater.

Back to top

2. Preventive measures

A little care exercised by consumers can help prevent nearly half of these kinds of accidents. It is important to be cautious about the followings to prevent similar accidents:

  1. (1) Always make sure the power is off before you leave the house or go to sleep.
  2. (2) Do not use near flammable materials, such as bedding and drapes.
  3. (3) Do not hang or dry laundry or clothes above electric stoves.
  4. (4) Carefully read handling manuals and safety warnings on products and follow the instructions.
  • * Alerts on kerosene heaters and kerosene fan heaters were provided in the prior issue. (No.53)

Fore more information;
National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE)
Product Safety Technology Center, Product Safety Investigation Division

Contact us

 Risk Analysis and Public Relations Division  Product Safety Technology Center  National Institute of Technology and Evaluation
Phone number:+81-6-6612-2066
Fax number:+81-6-6612-1617
Address:1-22-16, Nankokita, Suminoe-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 559-0034 Japan MAP