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Portable Space Heater Safety

Purpose and Scope:

Portable electric space heaters can provide additional comfort over and above the building’s heating system when used properly. Unfortunately, the use of these heaters increases the risk of fire and injury.

The following Operating Guidelines provide Cornell University’s staff and faculty guidance for the safe use of portable electric space heaters in campus facilities.

Portable Electric Space Heater Requirements:

  • Only “UL” listed and labeled portable, electric space heaters can be used
  • Must be equipped with an “Emergency Shutoff Tip Over Feature”

  • Must be plugged directly into an approved wall outlet receptacle and never used with an extension cord or power strip

  • Must never be operated within 3 feet of any combustible Materials (e.g. curtains, paper, plastic, cloth, etc.)

  • Must be turned off and or unplugged when not in use and at the end of each business day

  • Shall only be operated in locations for which they are listed

  • Always read and follow manufacturer’s guidelines

 Prohibited Use:

  • Should never be placed in any means of egress/exit paths or in high traffic areas
  • Should never be used in laboratory spaces, or, in any area where flammable liquids and gases are being used or stored

For further information contact the University Fire Marshal's Office at, askEHS or call 607-255-8200.