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Electrical & Heating Safety

Heating and electrical fires can happen any time, and in any room of your home, due to overloading electrical outlets or extension cords or placing combustible materials too close to heating equipment. In winter months, heating and electrical residential fires spike due to an increased use of heating appliances and lights. 

  • Read the manufacturer's instructions before operating any 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.​​

  • 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.​​

​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 newer, portable space heaters with an automatic shut-off so if they're tipped over, they will shut off.
  • Clean them each year before using and check for product recalls.
  • Unplug portable space heaters when not in use, before going to bed, or 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 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.​

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home (including the basement), inside each bedroom, and in the hallway outside each bedroom. 
  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home with bedrooms, inside each bedroom, and in the hallway outside each bedroom. ​​

For more information on smoke & CO alarms, please see the OSFM Smoke & CO Alarm page​.

​To help promote electrical and heating safety, please click the images to download them, then post and share them on your social media.




Fire and Life Safety Education Division

Fire and Life Safety Education Hotline

Mailing Address:
Office of State Fire Marshal
3565 Trelstad Ave SE
Salem, OR 97317​