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NFPA fact sheet outlines steps for safe use of outdoor heaters

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Quincy, MA — A new fact sheet from the National Fire Protection Association promotes the safe use of portable outdoor heaters – a popular appliance among restaurants, schools and other businesses with outdoor settings during the COVID-19 pandemic and as temperatures drop.

“Outdoor Heater Safety” outlines steps employers using propane and electric heaters should take in accordance with NFPA 1 Fire Code (2018 edition).

In general, NFPA recommends turning off all portable heaters when the area in which they’re being used isn’t occupied or being monitored closely, and keeping any flammable material at least 3 feet away from a heating element.

The fact sheet covers topics such as proper use of propane patio heaters and electric outdoor heaters, as well as safe storage of propane cylinders. All outdoor heaters should be used in accordance with their listing and manufacturer’s instructions.


“Use of outdoor spaces has served as an effective way for businesses and other groups, and restaurants in particular, to continue operating,” Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy at NFPA, said in an Oct. 21 press release. “As the colder months approach, outdoor heaters are being relied upon to extend services and activities as long as possible.

“By following the recommendations outlined in this fact sheet, communities can enhance safety while continuing to enjoy outdoor dining and other activities involving outdoor heaters later in the colder months.”

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