Tulsa Health Department Highlights Importance of Safe and Adequate Heating During Colder Months


TULSA, okay – [December 10, 2021] – As temperatures continue to fluctuate over the coming weeks into the lowest nighttime temperatures, the Tulsa Department of Health (THD) would like to remind residents of Tulsa County of the importance of safe and adequate heating for your house or apartment.

Heaters should warm the living space to a minimum of 65 ° F. Radiators are not considered a primary heat source and should only be used to supplement permanent heat sources. According to Article 602.3 of the International Property Maintenance Code, adequate and safe sources of heat must be available to occupants of dwelling structures. THD can help determine whether a heat source is adequate, safe, or unsafe.

“Dangerous heat is dangerous for someone’s health,” said Bernard Dindy, director of environmental health services. “Everyone’s home should have a safe and appropriate heat source during Oklahoma’s colder months. If anyone suspects that their heater is unsafe or inadequate, they can call THD for inspection.

Gas and electric stoves should never be used to heat a living space. Any heater or cooking equipment designed for use outside the home should never be used indoors due to the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Open flame gas heaters (ventilated and unvented) can be harmful if not used properly. Improperly functioning gas heaters could introduce carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas into living areas. Most gas heaters specify where they can or cannot be used. When used correctly, gas-fired heat is effective and efficient, but when improperly installed or used, it can be fatal.

THD officials discourage the use of heaters, but recognize that people can use them during the cold winter months. To minimize health hazards and potential fires in homes, THD stresses that heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, especially bedding and paper. Radiators should NOT be used as the primary source of heat.
“If you have to use a heater, make sure you do it safely,” Dindy added. “You should never connect radiators with extension cords. Use heaters that have been tested for the risk of fire, electric shock, and other hazards. ”

THD offers these tips:

  • Heaters should warm living spaces to 65 ° F.
  • If heaters are to be used, use them as needed, plug them directly into the wall outlet and keep them three feet away from anything that can burn and on a hard floor surface.
  • Gas heaters must be approved for use in certain living spaces and have the required safety devices.
  • Fireplaces and wood stoves must be properly ventilated and properly cleaned and maintained
  • Never use a stove to heat a living room.
  • Purchase a unit with an anti-tip safety switch, to turn off the heating element if the heater falls.
  • Install and properly maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

If you have any questions regarding your heat source, please contact the Environmental Health Services Program at 918-595-4200.

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