NFPA offers the following general heater safety tips, and a few for different types of heaters, as well:
• Supervise children when a fireplace, fire pit, or other space heater is being used. Use a sturdy, metal screen to prevent contact burns, which are even more common than flame burns.
• Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
• Never use your oven for heating.
• Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is created when fuels burn incompletely. CO poisoning can cause illness and even death. Make sure the venting for exhaust is kept clear and unobstructed. This includes removal of snow and ice around the outlet to the outside.
• Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
Fuel burning space heaters
• Always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
• When refueling, allow the appliance to cool and refuel outside or in a well-ventilated area.
• When using the heater, open a window to ensure proper ventilation.
• In portable kerosene or other liquid-fueled space heaters, always use the proper grade of the proper fuel.
• All new unvented gas-fired space heaters have an oxygen depletion sensor that detects a reduced level of oxygen in the area where the heater is operating and shuts off the heater before a hazardous level of carbon monoxide accumulates. If you have an older heater without this feature, replace it.
• If the pilot light of your gas heater goes out, allow five minutes or more for the gas to go away before trying again, do not allow gas to accumulate, and light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot to avoid risk of flashback.