Fireplaces and Woodstoves
- Remember: Fireplaces contain open flames. It can easily ignite
any combustibles nearby!
- Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored
flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that
can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if
eaten. Keep them away from children.
- Do not burn holiday wrapping papers in the fireplace. It can
throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the
home that could cause an explosion. A flash fire may result
as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
- Use only clean dry wood, do not burn trash. Use a metal
container for ash removal and store it outside, away from
combustibles such as a wood deck or pine needles.
- Have your chimney cleaned regularly, because creosote buildup
from burning wood can ignite your roof, chimney, even the whole
- Use fireplace screens to confine sparks and embers.
- Always supervise children when a fire is burning in the
- Do not allow children to light the fire.
- Remember - Space Heaters Need Space!
- When selecting an alternative heater, look for one that has been
tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Read and follow the manufacturers recommendations and directions
on all appliances. A good practice is to read aloud the
instructions and warning labels to all members of the household to
be certain that everyone understands how the heater is to be
operated safely. Keep the owner's manual in a convenient place to
refer to when needed.
- Make sure your alternative heaters have "tip
switches." These "tip switches" are designed to
automatically turn off the heater if the heater gets knocked over.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Some heaters
have very hot surfaces. Heaters could operate in a manner that is
unsafe if children are permitted to either adjust the controls or
jar the heater.
- Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an
un-vented, fuel-burning space heater. This helps to prevent
pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Even vented
heaters require ventilation for proper combustion.
- Never use a space heater overnight in the room where you are
sleeping. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide could accumulate
from fuel-fired heaters, or uncontrolled burning could cause a
- Never use or store flammable liquids (such as gasoline) around a
space heater. The flammable vapors can flow from one part of the
room to another and be ignited by the open flame or by the
electrical circuit of an electric heater.
- Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as
bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or
shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could
fall on the heater and start a fire.
- Never leave a burning heater unattended. Extinguish your heater
if you're leaving the room or area for more than a few minutes.
Never use a space heater while you're sleeping or bedridden.
- Be sure the location you choose can be ventilated according to
- Do not place a heater in a doorway, hall, or walkway where it is
likely to be bumped.
Kerosene Space Heaters
- Never use gasoline in a kerosene heater. Even small quantities
of gasoline in the heater tank can cause a fire.
- Use only K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Kerosene should be
purchased from a dealer who can certify that it is K-1 grade
kerosene. The fact that kerosene is "water clear" does
not ensure that it is K-1, since both K-1 and K-2 can appear
- Never fill the fuel tank of a kerosene heater beyond the full
mark because as the fuel warms, it expands and could spill and
cause a fire.
- Do not attempt to move the heater, remove the fuel tank, or
refuel the heater when it is operating or hot.
- Always refuel heater outside a building.
- In case of flare-up or uncontrolled flaming occurs, do not
attempt to move the heater. If your heater is equipped with a
manual shut-off switch, activate the switch to turn off the
heater. If activation of the shut-off switch does not extinguish
the flame, leave the area and immediately call the fire
- Keep kerosene stored outside in a seated blue container labeled
- Never use your electric heater near water. Water is a good
conductor of electricity and increases the changes of electric
shock. Do not touch an electric heater if your hands are wet or
you are in contact with water in any way. Never use an electric
- In a bathroom
- In a damp basement
- Near water
- Always unplug your heater when it is not in use. Touching
an electric heating element while it is on can cause a serious
burn or shock. Some heaters have electrically "live"
elements whenever they are plugged in--even if the switch is
turned off! The best way to prevent accidental shock or burns is
to unplug your portable electric heater whenever it is not being
used. Always unplug it before going to bed.
Check the safety features
- Be sure the grill protects the heating elements from children's
fingers and toys.
- Keep children and pets away from heaters.
- Be sure that the grill, cover or sides do not become hot enough
to burn when touched.
- Make sure there is a tip-over switch or a heat sensor (or both)
that turns off the heater if it falls over.
- Do not overload your wiring.
- Plug your heater directly into an outlet if possible. If you
must use an extension cord, be sure its electrical rating is as
high as the one listed on the heater.
- Some electrical heaters use the full capacity of a normal
household circuit. You may not be able to use other appliances at
the same time.
- If a fuse blows or a circuit breaker trips, unplug the heater
before replacing the fuse or resetting the breaker.
- Call a professional if you have any signs of a wiring
problem--frequently blown fuses, dimmed lights, hot cords or
General Fire Safety Tips
- Keep children away from open flames and electrical receptacles.
- Make sure your smoke alarm is maintained and working properly.
- Have a smoke alarm in every level of your house.
- Keep your emergency numbers near the telephone.
- Always call the fire department for any fire, even if the fire
has been completely extinguished.
- Have a fire evacuation plan and practice it with your family!