Heating related fires are the 2nd leading cause of house fires in Washington. Chimney fires and mechanical failure / malfunction of electric heating appliances are the chief causes of these fires.

Fireplaces & Wood Stoves
Open-flame equipment, more than any other, should always be attended by an adult when children are present. Below are tips for preventing a fire from a fireplace or wood stove:
  • Protect the floor under wood stoves from heat and stray embers with approved protection listed with a testing lab (i.e., UL, FM).
  • Install wood stoves at least 3 feet away from walls and furniture unless it is listed for a lesser clearance.
  • Always use a fire screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass.
  • Burn only seasoned wood - never trash - in your fireplace.
  • Be sure dampers are in working order.
Portable Space Heaters
Portable or space heaters should be equipped with an automatic shut-off safety feature and never be place in an exit pathway. Please view these tips below for how to prevent space-heater fires:
  • Portable heating equipment should bear the mark of an independent testing laboratory, indicating that the heater has met basic safety standards.
  • Inspect cords for cracks or damage on electric heaters. If cords overheat while in use, have the heater inspected and serviced.
  • Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from furniture, walls, curtains or anything else that burns.
  • Turn off space heaters when you leave home or go to bed.
Furnaces & Central Heating Systems
Statistically, central heating systems are less likely than portable heaters to cause home fires, but neglect can increase the risk of fire. Here are some tips for preventing a house fire due to a heating system:
  • Have system serviced at least once a year by a qualified professional.
  • Change the filter yearly. (This can also increase the efficiency of your heating.)
  • Be sure that installation and automatic shut-off systems are in good working order.