Be safe when using space heaters



In 2008, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 66,100 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 480 civilian deaths, 1,660 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 17% of all reported home fires.

Facts & figures

Based on 2004-2008 annual averages:

  • Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (32%) of home heating fires and four out of five (82%) of home heating fire deaths. 
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (25%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
  • Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (52%) of home heating fire deaths.
  • Half (49%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.

Source: NFPA’s “Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment” report by John R. Hall, Jr., September 2010.

Also see: Fact sheet on home heating fires. (PDF, 61 KB)


Related: NFPA fact sheet on carbon monoxide poisoning.


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