OSEA Safety Blog

Home Fires

Monday, February 15, 2021 NFPA

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the nation’s leading authority on fire safety, reports that over half of all home fires attributed to heating equipment occur from the use of fixed (fireplace, Franklin Stove, etc.) or from a portable space heater, and contribute to over three fourths of deaths.

If you are going to use a space heater, make sure that it is in an open space away from combustible materials, and that you carefully read the instructions, especially if you are going to use a flexible extension cord. It may require the use of a cord that is rated heavy duty

Report highlights

  • Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 48,530 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2014-2018. These fires resulted in annual losses of 500 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
  • Heating equipment caused one in seven home structure fires (14%) that took place in 2014–2018 and 19% of home fire deaths.
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (25%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
  • Over half (54%) of the home heating fire deaths were caused by having heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.
  • A vast majority of home heating fire deaths (81%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.
  • Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in January, February, and December.

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