As restaurants, schools, offices and other businesses use portable outdoor appliances during colder months, NFPA’s new fact sheet provides guidelines for using them safely

October 21, 2020 – Many restaurants, schools, offices, and other businesses have been using outdoor spaces to run and stay open amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with portable outdoor heaters increasingly being used to reduce the chill as temperatures drop. To help ensure that outdoor propane and electric heaters are used safely and in accordance with NFPA® 1, Fire Code (2018 edition), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed “Outdoor Heater Safety,” a new fact sheet that provides guidance and recommendations around safe use of these appliances.

“Use of outdoor spaces has served as an effective way for businesses and other groups, and restaurants in particular, to continue operating. As the colder months approach, outdoor heaters are being relied upon to extend outdoor services and activities as long as possible,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Our goal is to help local code officials work with businesses and groups in their communities to ensure that all activities involving portable outdoor heaters reflect proper safety precautions and considerations.”

The new “Outdoor Heater Safety” fact sheet addresses guidelines and recommendations for proper use of propane patio heaters, including safe storage of propane cylinders, as well as electric patio heaters. General safety tips, such as keeping anything at least three feet away from heating equipment and turning off all portable heaters when the area is not carefully monitored or occupied, are highlighted as well.

“By following the recommendations outlined in this fact sheet, communities can enhance safety while continuing to enjoy outdoor dining and other activities involving outdoor heaters later into the colder months,” said Carli.

As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at

Contact:Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275