Heating Fire Facts

Family by Fireplace

Heating caused nearly 10,000 fires in Massachusetts over the last five years. Heating is the second leading cause of home fires in the state. 

Protect Your Home From Heating Fires

For a detailed guide to protecting your home from heating fires, read Keep Warm Keep Safe, a DFS pamphlet, available in seven languages:
English pdf format of English Flyer
  Spanish pdf format of Keep Warm, Keep Safe pamphlet in Spanish
  Portuguese pdf format of Portuguese Flyer
  Chinese pdf format of Chinese Flyer
  Haitian Creole pdf format of Haitian Creole Flyer
  Vietnamese pdf format of Vietnamese Flyer
  Russian pdf format of Russian Flyer

Chimneys and Furnaces

Have furnaces and chimneys checked by a professional every year before the start of the heating season. Fuel assistance programs can help homeowners with maintenance and repair costs.

Wood, Pellet and Coal Stoves

These solid fuel stoves require a permit from the local building inspector to ensure they are installed safely and properly. Dispose of ashes in a metal container, with a lid, away from the house, garage, and porch. Visit the Chimneys and Woodstoves page for detailed advice on the safe use of these stoves. 

Space Heaters Need Space

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from space heaters. Visit the Space heaters page for detailed advice on the safe use of space heaters.

Glass Front Fireplaces: Prevent Contact Burns

Glass front fireplaces are a cause of contact burns for young children. A new ANSI Z21.50 Standard for Vented Gas Fireplaces requires installation of protective barriers on all new installations. Retrofitting previously installed fireplaces is also necessary.. The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a public awareness campaign aimed at parents and pediatricians. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also promoting safety information from the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA). 

Unvented Kerosene Heaters Illegal in Massachusetts

Dangerous unvented kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts, but they are still available in other states. They pose both fire and carbon monoxide risks.

Additional Resources

Fuel Assistance Programs

The following places have information on heating assistance programs, the laws on shutting off utilities in the winter months and helpful consumer information.

National Fire Protection Association
Keeping Your Community Safe and Warm A tool kit for fire educators to help promote heating safety in their own community. It contains: talking points, easy-to-read and reproduce flyers, sample press releases and letters to the editor, Public Service Announcements (PSAs), statistics on home heating fires and information on national fuel assistance programs.

U.S. Fire Administration
The U.S. Fire Administration has information on home heating fires and preventing them. They have statistical studies and public education resources about home heating safety on their website. Be aware that the use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts because of the danger of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

For more information contact your local fire department or call the 
Public Fire Safety Education Hotline at 1-877-9 NO- FIRE (1-877-966-3473).