Holiday Fire Safety Tips

DULUTH, Minn. – House fires killed 16 people in Minnesota over the holiday season last year, 12 taking place between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fire risks rise during the winter months due to an increase of heating, lighting, and cooking. The first level of safety is to have alerting equipment such as carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are installed on every floor of the house and tested to ensure they work properly.

To avoid such hazards from taking place while cooking, the state recommends not decorating the stove and to place the turkey in the kettle before adding oil.

“Our number one thing is if you are cooking, always remain in the kitchen, always be aware of what you are cooking, watching it at all times, but most importantly too is make sure you have a plan. What is your plan? Do you have a cookie sheet or a lid that fits the top of the pan that’s on the stove? Do you know that if your oven starts on fire the door itself is really an asset to putting the fire out,” MN State Fire Marshall, Jim Smith says.

If a cooking fire occurs, the Fire Marshall suggests keeping the oven closed and to turn it off.

Another fire risk is safety heaters. These can become hazardous when are left on too close to flammable material or plugged into an extension cord.

“That extension cord plus the cord from the unit itself, those get extremely hot, and we have pictures after pictures of power strips that have literally melted due to the heat. We’ve got power cords that have started carpeting or bedding or clothing on fire. So, if you’re going to use a space heater, keep it away from all combustibles and do not plug it into an extension cord, plug it directly into a wall socket,” said Smith.

The Fire Marshall also suggests turning off space heaters when you leave the house or go to bed.

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