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Electrical Heating Safety

Heating and electrical fires can happen at any time and in any room of your home because of overloaded electrical outlets or extension cords, or placing combustible materials too close to heating equipment. In winter months, heating and electrical residential fires spike because of the increased use of heating appliances and lights. To lower the risk of a fire caused by heating, there are several simple things you can do to make your home more fire-safe.

All Heating Types

  • Use heating equipment with the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Keep things that burn such as paper, curtains, bedding, or furniture, at least three feet away from all heating equipment, including fireplaces, wood stoves, and pellet stoves.
  • Keep a three-foot “kid and pet-free zone" around all heating equipment.


  • Use portable space heaters with an automatic shut-off so if they're tipped over they turn off.
  • Clean them each year before using them and check for product recalls.
  • Unplug portable space heaters when not in use, before going to bed, and when leaving the room.
  • Make sure fuel-burning heaters are designed for indoor use and are properly ventilated.

Wood and Pellet-Burning Heating Equipment

(Fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves)

  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected at least once a year by a qualified professional.
  • In wood stoves and fireplaces, burn only dry, seasoned wood. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned pellets.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from escaping.
  • Place ashes in a metal container, soak them with water, and keep them at least 10 feet away from the home or anything that can burn. Dispose of the ash only after it is cool.

Electrical Fire Safety Tips 

  • Avoid pinching cords between walls and furniture.
  • Do not run electrical cords under carpets or across doorways.
  • Avoid electrical overload.
  • Consider having an electrician install additional wall outlets where you need them and add a breaker if needed.
  • Electrical work should be done by a qualified professional.

Additional Fire Safety Tips 

  • Read the manufacturer's instructions before operating electrical or heating equipment or appliances.
  • Replace items (appliances) with cracked or damaged electrical cords, broken plugs, or loose connections.
  • Plug appliances (portable space heaters, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, etc.) directly into a wall outlet and never a power strip or extension cord. Extension cords are for temporary use only.
  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home (including the basement), inside each bedroom, and in the hallway outside each bedroom.
  • Have working carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home with bedrooms, inside each bedroom, and in the hallway outside each bedroom.

More information on smoke & carbon monoxide alarms.


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