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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Dory Ehrlich, Fire Department, (510) 981-5585


Berkeley, California (Tuesday, November 27, 2007) - Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In an average year, heating equipment is involved in 59,000 home structure fires, resulting in 330 deaths, 1,250 injuries, and $540 million in direct property damage. The Berkeley Fire Department advises you to protect yourself, your family and your home by following these heater safety tips:

Heater Safety

  • Place space heaters at least 3’ away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding and clothing. Never leave space heaters operating when you leave a room or go to bed. Be sure everyone knows that drying wet clothes on space heaters is a fire danger.
  • Never use kerosene heaters or charcoal grills indoors.
  • Never use your gas stove or oven for home heating. In addition to being a fire hazard, this can create toxic fumes.
  • Make sure your space heaters have “tip switches,” which automatically turn off if the heaters tip over.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, have adequate ventilation, and are at least 3’ away from combustibles.
  • Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting carpets, furniture, or other combustibles.
  • Be sure that fireplace ashes are completely cold before removing them from your fireplace. Store them in a metal container away from combustibles for at least three days before putting them in the garbage.
  • Check with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for restrictions on wood-burning. http://www.baaqmd.gov/pio/wood_burning/ 

Floor furnaces

Floor furnaces can be extremely dangerous. Nothing should be placed or stored on top of a heater, including furniture. Never use heaters to dry clothing or other combustibles. Be sure that all combustibles are kept away from the heating grate. Teach children to stay away from radiators and heaters, and not to play with or drop anything into them.

For more information, please contact Berkeley’s Fire Prevention Division via Email or telephone at 981-5585.


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