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Put A Freeze on Winter Fires

Put A Freeze on Winter Fires logo

Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. 

NFPA and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) are teaming up to help reduce your risk to winter fires and other hazards, including carbon monoxide and electrical fires. Learn more about these specific elements of winter fire safety to help keep you safe this winter.


Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries; December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires.

From 2009-2013, heating equipment was involved in an estimated average of 56,000 reported home fires per year, which caused 470 deaths, 1,490 injuries and $1 billion in direct property damage. 

Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%).

Get additional information on heating safety.

Dan Doofus learns some important safety lessons about home heating.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO.

Carbon Monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. Calls to fire departments for these incidents are more common during the early evening hours.

Get additional information on carbon monoxide safety.

Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Get additional information on severe storms. 


Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards.

According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools.

Get additional information on portable generators.


December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top four days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve.

Home candle fires peak in December (12%) and January ranked second with 10% of home candle fires. Each year between 2009 and 2013, an average of 25 home candle fires were reported each day. Overall, an estimated 9,300 home fires were caused by candles, resulting in 86 civilian deaths, 827 civilian injuries and $374 billion in direct property damage.

Get additional information on candle safety.


Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. On average each year between 2007 and 2011, roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.

Get additional information on electrical safety.

Dan Doofus learns more about what you can do to keep your home safe from electrical fires.