GOSHEN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Goshen Firefighters Association is reminding everyone of tips to help maintain a fire-safe home this holiday season.

It’s getting cold outside, and many of us will be using space heaters to warm up our homes. While space heaters can keep you toasty, they are not without a set of risks, as heating equipment is one of the leading causes of fires in the U.S.

When using a space heater, it is important to keep a few rules in mind to make sure you and your home are safe.

The Goshen Firefighters Association wants you to remember these home heating safety tips to have a safe holiday season:

Space Heaters

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heater.
  • Make sure that the heater has an automatic shut-off.
  • Turn the heaters off when going to bed or leaving the room.
  • Plug portable heaters into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • When purchasing a space heater, select one that’s been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Intertek (ETL).

Mass.gov provides additional home heating safety tips that everyone should follow:

Chimney and Woodstove Safety

  • You need a building permit before installing fireplaces, wood, pellet, or coal-burning stoves.
  • Your local building inspector must inspect new fireplaces, and wood, pellet, or coal-burning stoves before they are used as required by the Massachusetts State Building Code.
  • Allow for at least 36 inches of clearance around the appliance to prevent combustibles from coming into contact with a heat source. This is the 3-foot circle of safety.
  • Solid fuel heating appliances cannot share a common flue with chimney flues used by another solid fuel, fossil fuel, or gas fire appliance. 
  • A qualified mason should inspect the chimney and flue before the stove is used and annually. Cracks in the flue or mortar joints can allow flames and heated gases to get into living spaces.
  • Make sure the wood stove is three feet from anything that can burn.
  • Do not burn paper in the wood stove.
  • Put the fire out before going to sleep or leaving your home.


  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers from jumping out.
  • Do not burn paper.
  • Put the fire out before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, or at least 10 feet away from the house.

Kerosene Heater

  • Only use kerosene heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off.
  • Refuel your cooled heater outside.

Oil Heating Equipment

  • Have your furnace professionally cleaned and checked every year.
  • Don’t let the tank get completely empty.
  • Call for service if the oil burner releases smoke or soot in the house

Natural Gas Equipment

  • Have your furnace and hot water heater professionally checked every year.
  • Do not use or store gasoline or painting supplies indoors where the furnace pilot light can ignite them.
  • If you smell something like rotten eggs or you think there might be a leak, go outdoors, do not smoke, or turn electrical switches on or off as sparks can cause explosions, and dial 911 immediately.

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