From: J on 14 Apr 2009 19:59
Fire safety for air fresheners
Updated Mon. May. 5 2008 3:24 PM ET
The Winnipeg Fire Department responds to hundreds of fires every year. Two
fires last year involved plug-in air fresheners.
No one was seriously hurt in the incidents, but one of the fires did cause
extensive damage. In both incidents the air fresheners were so badly
burned, that officials could not determine their brands. CTV News
contacted the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada to see if it had
discovered any problems in tests done on plug-in air fresheners.
They haven't - and neither has the Canadian Standards Association.
But Stephen Sumka of the Winnipeg Fire Department says those findings
don't mean there aren't potential problems.
"These are tested under ideal conditions put in exactly the way the
manufacturer intended them to be used," he told CTV News.
That means following directions improperly could be a fiery and costly
Avoid outlet obstructions
Sumka says the biggest precaution consumers need to take is keeping
electrical outlets clear of obstructions.
"Avoid drapes or any kind of combustibles," he said. "A lot of people want
to put dressers or furniture in front of them. If you're going to put
furniture in front, make sure it's a good distance away."
Officials say in both of Winnipeg's air freshener fires, there were
obstructions or flammable items near the outlet.
He also recommends looking for brands with the CSA or UL Canada symbols on
Another thing to keep in mind is that oil based plug-in fresheners can be
a magnet for pets. So keeping them in outlets where pets can't get at them
is another way to use a freshener and still keep your entire family safe.
If you've had an air freshener catch fire, or another product fail,
Underwriters Laboratories Canada wants to hear from you. You can contact
them by filling out their online form.
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