Kerosene Heater Safety I
If you use a kerosene heater in your home or place of business, you should take precautions against a number of serious hazards.
These dangers include:
Fire or explosion. Fire could be caused by operating the heater too close to furniture, draperies or other combustibles, by knocking over a lighted heater, or by accidentally igniting fuel when filling the tank. Explosions could be caused by use of the wrong kind of fuel, or by operating the heater in an area where there are combustible fumes.
Burns. Burns could be caused by direct contact with a heater, or by ignition of combustible clothing. Children especially should be kept at a safe distance from operating heaters. Even pets could be injured.
Asphyxiation. Kerosene heaters consume oxygen as they burn. If they are operated in a small room or in an inadequately ventilated area, oxygen in the air could be reduced to a dangerous level. Reduced oxygen supply could lead to incomplete combustion of fuel and the production of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which in sufficient concentrations, or if breathed over a period of time, can kill without warning.
Indoor air pollution. In addition to carbon monoxide, kerosene heaters can emit such pollutants as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Breathing these substances can create a risk, especially to such people as pregnant women, asthmatics, individuals with cardiovascular disease, elderly persons and young children.
These hazards can be minimized or averted by carefully following manufacturers' instructions for use of kerosene heaters, and by adopting other common-sense safety measures.