MN Winter Weather Awareness Week, Day 3

Winter Fire Safety

Topics for today include information and tips designed to help keep you safe when you're indoors during the winter season. Specific subjects include:


  • Cooking is usualy the number-one cause of home fires; roughly half of residential fires originated in the kitchen.
  • Open flames and heating fires were numbers two and three.
  • Most heating fires in Minnesota involve fireplaces or chimneys.
  • The most dangerous place to be, with regard to fire, is in your own home. Three-quarters of fire deaths take place in residences.
  • Many home fire deaths took place in homes without working smoke detectors.

Safe Behavior

Your home can be a cozy, warm place to spend the winter,
but it can become a nightmare if you don't "
watch what you heat!"

  • Safety around heating equipment and appliances is an important first step in reducing the threat of fire. Keep children and loose clothing at a safe distance.
  • Use a yardstick to measure the distance between heating equipment and combustible material. Unless you have three feet of clearance, you are at risk.
  • Always turn off portable heating appliances when leaving home or retiring for the evening. Be sure the fire in the fireplace is out before going to bed.
  • Have chimneys, fireplaces and other heating devices inspected by a qualified professional at the start of every heating season.
  • Use a sturdy screen or glass closure in front of your fireplace, and burn only clean fireplace wood. Never burn treated lumber.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and test them monthly.
  • If you smell gas in your home, contact your local utility company or qualified professional heating contractor and follow their advice.
  • Install a residential fire sprinkler system in your home.
  • Inspect heat tape before using it. Never thaw frozen pipes with an open flame.

Safe Behavior

Winter holidays can be a joyous time for all, if you practice holiday fire safety at home.

  • Protect neighborhood homes this winter. Keep your nearest fire hydrant clear of snow.
  • After holiday parties, check wastebaskets and furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
  • Place holiday decorations well away from heat sources. If you use a tree, water it daily.
  • Do not burn holiday wrappings in a fireplace; it may cause a chimney fire.
  • Pay attention to cooking. If a pan is on fire, cover it with a lid. Water will spread the fire.
  • Turn off and unplug lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving your house. Buy electrical decorations that have been approved by a national testing laboratory. Don’t overload outlets.

For further information, contact:

  • Your local fire department
  • The State Fire Marshal Division at (651) 201-7200
  • The State Fire Chiefs' Association at (651) 603-8827

For more info...MN Winter Weather Awareness Home Page

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