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L P gas salamander heaters can be very useful for providing temporary heating on job sites, particularly when the size of location of the site makes other heaters impractical. They are ideal for heating because the salamander is equipped with adjustable valves and regulators making it easier to control the heat source and quantity of gases.

While these heaters can be very helpful to us for heating the work area, it is important that common sense precautions be taken to prevent fires or injuries that could result if they are improperly used.

Most LP gas salamander accidents that occur are fires, usually caused when the units are placed too close to combustible materials (paper, wood, plastics, etc.) or near flammable solvents or paints. Burns are the frequent source of injury, and they often occur when salamanders are placed in the middle of walkways or too close to work areas.

As with any fuel/air heater, there is always a potential for oxygen deficiency and carbon monoxide poisoning in highly confined areas that do not have adequate cross ventilation.

Some good helpful tips for salamanders and other portable heaters are:

1. Always maintain a minimum distance of at least 3 feet from any combustible materials and observe an overhead clearance of at least 6 feet to prevent fires.

2. Tarpaulins, canvas, and plastic coverings have been the major fuel source in many fires started with salamanders, so keep these combustibles at least 10 feet away from any open flame heater.

3. Always be alert for hot surfaces on and around the heater. Don't touch metal parts that could become heated. Even though they don't look hot, they can cause serious burns.

4. Salamanders are designed to be used in a horizontal position. Don't attempt to use them in other positions unless permitted by the manufacturers' instructions.

5. Always follow the instructions when lighting the heater or shutting it down. Don't attempt shortcuts.

6. After lighting the salamander, check to be sure that it is functioning properly. If you feel that it's not working properly, shut it off and tell your supervisor

7. It's a good idea to periodically check a salamander after it is lighted just to be sure that it continues to burn properly. A quick inspection takes very little time and you may prevent an accident.

8. Be very careful when you place a salamander in a confined place. Some of these heaters use up oxygen quickly and generate carbon monoxide vapors. There should always be a source of fresh air when fuel-air heaters are used.

9. When fueling or changing L P tanks follow the manufacturers instructions and be sure the unit is cool to the touch. It's a good idea to check for leaks in fuel lines, hoses or connections.

10. Remember that L P gas is heavier than air. Leaks in cylinders tend to seek the lower level of a room and could move to other areas easily. Be sure that leaks are reported. L P gas cylinders not in use should be properly stored and secured outside, away from the building.

These safety tips are common sense, and are worth considering in view of the injuries and fires that have occurred with these heaters. Good thoughtful action when using salamanders will give us warmth. Careless or thoughtless use can turn them into deadly tools.


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