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Safety Tips to Prevent Space Heater Fires

When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter's Laboratories Inc. (UL).

Keep the heater 3 feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.

Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.

Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.

Space heaters are for temporary use only. Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.

Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.

Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.

The sale and use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts.


One of every 20 space heater fires causes a fatality. These fires caused three civilian deaths, 11 civilian injuries, 12 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $3 million. The average dollar loss for a space heater fire is $50,000. Twenty-six percent (26%) of these fires were caused when combustible materials such as bedding, magazines, newspapers, clothing or furniture were too close to the heater, and another 3% were caused when rugs, carpets or mats were under or too close to the heater.