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January 22, 2013

01/23/13 Much of Indiana will be dealing with below freezing temperatures for the next week.  To cope with the Arctic air, Hoosiers may turn to alternative heating methods to help warm their homes. The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Hoosiers to take extra care when using any heating equipment other than a central heating system.

  Alternative heating methods include fireplaces, gas or electric space heaters, wood burning stoves, and other fuel-burning sources.

 “Space heaters present a greater fire risk than central heating systems,” said Jim Greeson, Indiana State Fire Marshal. “Space heaters tend to be closer to household combustibles and the people occupying the homes, and they tend to require a more direct role by occupants in fueling, maintenance, and operation.”

 The State Fire Marshal suggests following these tips for safe heating during the winter months:

  • DO NOT use an oven or stove to heat your home.
  • Space heaters need space. Keep heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials like draperies, blankets, clothing, bedding, etc.
  •  Install space heaters according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes.
  • Plug electric-powered space heaters into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
  • Use the proper grade of fuel for liquid-fueled space heaters, and never use gasoline.  Refuel only in a well-ventilated area and when the equipment is cool.
  • Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is unoccupied or under circumstances when manufacturer’s instructions say they should be turned off.
  • Portable space heaters are easy to knock over in the dark. They should be turned off when you go to bed.
  • Use only dry, seasoned wood in a fireplace or wood stove to avoid the build-up of creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire and accounts for most chimney fires and the largest share of home heating fires.
  • Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start the fire. Do not use artificial logs in wood stoves.
  • Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which should be kept a safe distance from any structure.
  • Make sure fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed, and that the exit point is properly sealed around the vent. These steps are to make sure deadly carbon monoxide does not build up in the home.

For more tips on being prepared for winter weather, visit