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Heating Safety

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths. Fire departments responded to an estimated average of 44,210 fires involving heating equipment per year from 2016-2020, accounting for 13% of all reported home fires during this time, and these fires resulted in annual losses of 480 civilian deaths.

Heating fire facts

Based on 2016-2020 annual averages:

  • Space heaters were the type of heating equipment responsible for the largest shares of losses in home heating equipment fires, accounting for one-third of the fires, but nearly nine out of ten deaths and four out of five of the injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment. 
  • Fires originating in a kitchen or cooking area accounted for the largest share of home heating fires (17%). 
  • While the larger (non-confined) fires involving fireplaces or chimneys were involved in fewer than one in ten fires caused by heating equipment (7%), they caused just over one-fifth of the direct property damage (22%).
  • Nearly half of the heating equipment fires (46%) occurred in the three-month period from December through February.

Source: NFPA Research Division

Heating Safety “Hot Flash”

Dan Doofus gets it all wrong in the “Hot Flashes” cartoon about heating safety. Space heaters are a popular appliance to provide additional heating at home, but can cause a significant fire hazard when placed too close to flammable materials. Chimneys and heating systems should be inspected and cleaned each year before they are fired up for the season.

Heating Safety Tips
Portable Fireplace Safety T Ips
Portable Heater Safety Tips

© 2023 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Heating Safety Tips File Size: 1.02 MB Download
Portable Fireplace Safety T Ips File Size: 461.85 KB Download
Portable Heater Safety Tips File Size: 403.86 KB Download

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Cassandra Brodhaecker Public Education Officer