The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal
warns residents of dangers of improper use of space heaters and ovens to stay
Early low temperatures prompt fire safety concerns
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[December 12, 2014]
– With an early blast of winter hitting Illinois, the Office of the
Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) today warned the public not to
rely on kitchen ovens for heat and to use caution and common sense
when using space heaters.
“Fire safety ought to be part of our daily lives. Using space
heaters too close to flammable materials, or the oven or stove as
ways to heat the home could pose a serious fire hazard,” said State
Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “We urge residents to use common sense
to prevent a tragedy.”
Brutal Illinois winters often leave residents searching for heat
from any available sources. However, fire authorities warn that the
use of unsafe alternatives as a heat source could be risky.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in
recent years heating equipment fires have been the second leading
cause of home fires nationally (cooking fires remain the leading
cause). These incidents occur mostly during the winter, with
approximately half of all home heating related fires occurring
between December and February annually.
In Illinois last year, 467 fires incidents involving heating
equipment were reported. Some of the equipment involved in these
incidents included fireplaces, stoves, space heaters, and heat
lamps. Stationary and portable space heaters are typically
determined to be the cause of one-third of reported home heating
fires in the U.S. each year according to NFPA research.
OSFM offers the following advice to stay warm and fire-safe:
- All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as
paper, bedding, and furniture at least 3 feet away from heating
- Do not allow children and pets within three feet of open
fires and space heaters.
- Plug space heaters directly into the wall outlet, not into
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- Use portable heating equipment that has the label of a
recognized testing laboratory.
• Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space
heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment
according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instruction.
- Maintain heating equipment, gas fireplaces, and chimneys by
having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified
- Wood-burning fireplaces should always be kept clean to avoid
carbon monoxide poisoning or smoke inhalation.
For more information about fire safety and prevention, please
visit www.sfm.illinois.gov or www.nfpa.org.
[Office of the Illinois State Fire