Keep Safe while you Keep Warm

Information released by the State Fire Marshal’s Office

February is here and so is freezing weather! Many residents use heating equipment to stay warm during the winter, but as the use of heating equipment increases, so does the potential for fire. There were 364 fires caused by heating equipment reported to the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) from January to March in 2019. Those fires resulted in 1 civilian fatality, 6 fire service injuries, and an estimated $2.5 million in property damage.

The SFMO would like to remind residents of the following tips to prevent home heating fires this winter:

  • Keep anything that can burn 3 feet away from heating equipment, such as space heaters, wood stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and heating equipment every year.
  • Use a sturdy screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be allowed to cool and then placed in a metal container a safe distance from your home.
  • Make sure to have a qualified professional install stationary heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Install and test carbon monoxide and smoke alarms at least once a month.

For more fire safety and prevention information, visit the SFMO’s website at or follow us on Twitter @wafiremarshal.