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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release:  
Tuesday, December 10, 2013  
Des Moines, Iowa  

State Fire Marshal Warns Home Heating
Fires Increase During the Winter

Heating Element Pic

The Iowa Department of Public Safety reminds Iowans home fires spike in the winter months of December through February.  The noticeable increase in home heating fires and fatal fires follows the cold temperatures.  Many home heating fires could be avoided with an ounce of prevention.  State Fire Marshal investigators report placing heaters too close to combustible objects like furniture and blankets as well as leaving heaters unattended are the primary reasons for portable heater fires.  


  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heaters.

  • Never use your oven to heat your home.

  • Remember always turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Always use the right kind of fuel and be sure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm and smoke alarms installed in your home.

  • Portable heaters provide localized heat to an area and should not be used as the only source of permanent home heat.

  • If you smell gas, immediately leave your home and call 911.

  • Be sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.  Always use metal containers for ashes and keep them far from your home. 

Fire is Everyone's Fight                   NFPA Logo

If you have questions about portable heaters contact the State Fire Marshal Division
at 515-725-6145 or email at fminfo@dps.state.ia.us


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