Portable Heater Safety


The cold days of winter are upon us. This is the time of year when we look for those extra, economical ways to provide warmth in our homes. Portable heaters are often seen as the answer. But portable heaters can lead to tragedy if they are not used properly.

Here are a few tips for safety with portable heaters:

  1. Use only appliances that cut off automatically if tipped over.
  2. Use only models that have been approved by a nationally recognized testing agency (UL or Factory Mutual).
  3. Keep combustible materials at least three feet away from space heaters.
  4. If using an electric model, make sure the cord is not frayed or worn. Never use an extension cord with a portable heater.
  5. Keep children and pets away from portable heaters. It only takes a second for curiosity to lead to a serious burn.
  6. Turn heaters off when you leave home or go to bed. It doesn't make sense to lose your possessions or your life while trying to save energy.
  7. If you are using a kerosene heater, use only IK kerosene as a fuel. Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid in a kerosene heater. Follow all the manufacturer's instructions.

Good judgement, common sense and following the manufacturer's recommendations will allow you to safely enjoy your portable heater.

Public Affairs and Life Safety Education Section
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, VA 22030
703-246-3801 or TTY 711

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