Blakeman holds space heater safety demo

Demo is a response to Jan. 9 Bronx blaze that killed 19


On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman joined Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro, Assistant Chief James Hickman, President of Fire Commission Frank DeBobes, Nassau Fire Education Center Chief Instructor John Murray, and the Nassau County Police Department Arson and Bomb Squad to host a demonstration for residents at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy in Old Bethpage to show what happens if space heaters are not used correctly.

With the temperature dropping below freezing across our region, it is important that our residents operate space heaters safely, should they choose to use them," Blakeman said. "Thank you to our fire marshall, fire commission, chiefs, and our outstanding Fire Academy officers here in Old Bethpage for putting together this demonstration for our residents."

"As we just witnessed with the tragedy in the Bronx, space heaters can be a real hazard if proper precautions aren't taken," Chief Uttaro said. "Our goal is to educate residents about safe use, and the different steps they can take to make sure they stay safe this winter."

Uttaro advised making sure a space heater has an automatic shutoff feature that switches it off if it tips over, or is knocked down by a child or pet. He also went through a list of safety tips and recommendations (see below), which can be found at

[list head]HEATER CHECKLIST [/end list head]

[start bulleted list]

  • Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anything that can burn.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an automatic shutoff feature that turns the heater off if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic. Never block an exit.
  • Keep children away from the space heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to   bed.