Safety Tip

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater. Read all of NFPA's heating safety tips, and download our free safety tip sheet.


Lorraine CarliLorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Communications, talks about home heating safety:

Safety tips for home heating

In 2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 14% of all reported home fires. 

Video: With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.

Facts & figures

Based on 2007-2011 annual averages:

  • Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
  • Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.
  • Half (50%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.

Source: NFPA's “Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment" report by John R. Hall, Jr., October 2013. 

Video: How to stay safe if you're using a space heater to heat your home this winter.

NFPA does not test, label or approve any products.

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