Burn center doctors: Please be careful using space heaters - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Burn center doctors: Please be careful using space heaters

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Doctors at Loyola University Medical Center's Burn Center, who see about 3,500 burn patients every year at the west suburban hospital's clinic, are warning area residents that winter is not over yet and precautions should still be taken with the use of space heaters.

A release Friday from the hospital's burn center cites Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics, that estimate that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters.

More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care annually for burn injuries associated with room heaters, the release said.

"Every year we receive patients who are victims of house fires caused by space heaters," Dr. Richard Gamelli, director of the Burn and Shock Trauma Institute at Loyola University Medical Center, said.

The Loyola Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, according to the release, treating nearly 700 patients annually in the hospital, and another 3,500 patients each year in its clinic.

"So many of these injuries are preventable if simple precautions are taken," Gamelli said.

Tips on the safe use of space heaters that the burn center pointed to are:

  • Keep space heaters at least 3-feet away from furniture or other combustible material, such as curtains and bedding. Don't place heaters on carpets or rugs.
  • Locate space heaters on a hard, level surface where a child or family pet cannot brush up against them.
  • Never leave a space heater on when an adult is not present in the room.
  • If you are using a fuel-fired heater, do not go to sleep with it on, since carbon monoxide levels could rise and be fatal.

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