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OFM Pub Ed – Home Heating Safety

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  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • 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.
  • Keep oxygen tanks at least 5 feet from a heat source.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.


  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Keep portable heaters three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Place portable heaters on flat surfaces.
  • Avoid using extension cords with portable heaters.

When shopping for a portable space heater, choose a model with:

  • An automatic shut-off device
  • A seal of approval from an independent testing laboratory, signifying that it has met safety standards.


  • Keep all furniture a safe distance from your heaters. Never block the flow of heat.
  • Always hire an experienced electrician to perform any necessary repair work on your baseboard heaters.
  • Keep children and pets away from these 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 them a safe distance away from your home.
  • Have your chimney inspected annually by a professional. Creosote can build up inside the chimney and pose a fire hazard.
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.


If a fire occurs in your home, a working smoke alarm can save your life.

  • Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.
  • If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance.
  • Leave the home immediately and call 9-1-1.

CAUTION: Heating is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February.