Kerosene and gas burning stoves can be effective tools for heating, but they also pose fire hazards that contribute to home heating equipment as the second leading cause of U.S. home fires.

That's one reason why the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are teaming up to reduce the risk of home heating fires. Both organizations offer the following guidelines for safe use of kerosene and gas burning stoves:

  • Always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
  • When refueling, allow the appliance to cool and refuel outside.
  • When using the heater, open a window to ensure proper ventilation.
  • In portable kerosene or other liquid-fueled space heaters, always use the proper grade of the proper fuel.
  • All new, unvented gas-fired space heaters with an oxygen depletion sensor that detects a reduced level of oxygen in the area where the heater is operating and shuts off the heater before a hazardous level of carbon monoxide accumulates. If you have an older heater without this feature, replace it with one that does.
  • If the pilot light of your gas heater goes out, allow 5 minutes or more for the gas to go away before trying again, do not allow gas to accumulate, and light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot to avoid risk of flashback.
  • If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Leave the building immediately and call 9-1-1, the fire department, or the gas company.