ØBe sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
ØBe sure your heater is in good working condition.
ØInspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
ØNever use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
ØUse ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
ØKeep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
ØNever fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling.
ØRefueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep young children away from space heaters—especially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
ØWhen using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.
Wood Stoves And Fireplaces
Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.
To use them safely:
ØBe sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
ØWood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be laboratory tested.
ØHave the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
ØDo not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
ØKeep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
ØThe stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
ØDon’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
ØNever burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
ØKeep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.
ØBefore you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
ØIf synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
ØIt is important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.
ØBe sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
ØLeave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified. Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
ØCheck the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
ØIs the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
ØKeep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
Other Fire Safety Tips
ØNever discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
ØNever use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
ØIf you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
ØAvoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
ØFrozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a laboratory tested device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
ØIf windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
ØIf there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
ØBe sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
ØPlan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
ØContact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety.
For more information or copies of this publication, please contact:
Department of Homeland Security • U.S. Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue • Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
800-561-3356 • www.usfa.dhs.gov