Space Heater Safety

During cold weather, many occupants of UO buildings may want to utilize portable electric space heaters for supplemental heating. All portable electric space heaters must meet the following criteria, as specified in the Oregon Fire Code.



Oregon Fire Code Requirements:

  • Must have a label indicating that they are listed and approved by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), or another recognized testing lab.
  • Must be equipped with an automatic tip-over safety shut-off switch.
  • Must have a heating element that is permanently guarded so that there can be no direct contact by people or materials. Portable electric space heaters with no visible heating element (e.g., oil filled) are preferred.
  • Must be operated in accordance with the manufacture’s instructions.
  • Portable electric space heaters must be at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from paper, curtains, furniture, clothing, bedding or anything else that can burn, and should adhere to the clearances recommended by the heater manufacturer. Never dry clothes or place combustibles above portable electric space heaters.
  • Portable electric space heaters must be plugged directly into an approved wall outlet. Portable electric space heaters must never be plugged into an extension cord.

The use of portable electric space heaters at the University of Oregon must also adhere to the following conditions:

  • Portable electric space heaters are not allowed in residence halls, wet areas (e.g., restrooms), laboratories or other areas where flammable materials are stored, or in areas where small children are present.
  • Portable electric space heaters must be placed on a flat, level floor surface, and not on cabinets, shelves, desks, etc.
  • Do not place portable electric space heaters in exit ways or paths of egress. Do not extend the electric cord of the portable electric space heaters through wall openings, or under doors or floor coverings. Arrange the cord away from traffic areas where it will not present a trip hazard or be subject to damage.
  • Do not operate a portable electric space heater with a damaged cord or plug.
  • Never leave portable electric space heaters running when you leave the room or area.