Space heaters need space. That's a key message from the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).

Space heaters annually account for one-third of reported U.S. home heating fires, and four out of five associated civilian deaths.

Keep things that can burn at least 3 feet away from space heaters, and create a three-foot "kid-free zone" around them. Make sure to use equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory, and have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.

 

 

 

 

For portable electric heaters:

  • Place them on a solid, flat surface, away from high traffic areas and doorways.
  • Turn them off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Use and purchase heaters with an automatic shut off so if they're tipped over they will shut off.
  • Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
  • Inspect for cracked or damaged, broken plugs or loose connections; replace before using.

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.

Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths. 

 

 

 

 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends following these home heating safety tips:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
Additional Resources:

NFPA Heating Safety Tips

U.S. Fire Administration Heating Safety Tips

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. In the home, heating equipment that burns fuel is a potential source of carbon monoxide, with November, December and January representing peak months for (non-fire) carbon monoxide incidents.

To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide and other home heating hazards this winter, the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) have teamed up to promote their joint fire safety campaign, "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires," and urge everyone to take the following precautions to prevent carbon monoxide in their homes:

  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside. During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified professional.
  • If you use a generator, make sure it's used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent.
  • Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move everyone in your home to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door and call for help. Stay there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

For more heating fire safety advice from NFPA and USFA's "Put a Freeze on Winter" campaign, visit www.nfpa.org/winter.

If you have an emergency would your house be easy to find?