Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths, and most can be avoided by following these simple safety tips.
CCFR and the National Fire Protection Association recommend following these general home heating safety recommendations:
- Keep anything that can burn (including papers, rugs, and curtains) at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the a furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a 3′ “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.
- 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.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
If you are using a space heater, follow these tips:
- Make sure it has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect it cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep.
- Never use them to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes, they are only meant to provide supplemental heat.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
- Do not place them in high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug them directly into a nearby wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire.
- Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Only use them on level, flat floor. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.