Bruce West, State Fire Marshal
Seven people, including two children, have died in house fires this year compared to five at this time in 2014. The winter months are historically a dangerous time for residential fires in Minnesota. With plenty of cold weather yet to come, State Fire Marshal Bruce West reminds families to stay safe and prevent tragedy in their homes.
“Escape options, planning and practice keep people alive in a building fire,” West said. “Children can be taught to get out and stay out if parents plan and practice with them often.”
According to the American Red Cross, 69 percent of parents believe their children would know what to do and how to escape a fire with little help. However, 82 percent of families have not practiced a home fire drill.
Fire safety and escape planning information
Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
- Test alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.
- Alarms should be replaced based on manufacturer recommendations.
Draw a diagram of your home. Mark windows and doors and plan two ways out of each room.
Teach your kids to crawl low if they see smoke.
Plan an outside meeting place — like the front yard — for everyone in your home.
Practice your escape plan with every family member.
Make sure kids know the sound of a smoke alarm and what to do when it goes off.
If you’re staying somewhere away from home, know how to escape there, too.
Treat every smoke alarm activation as an emergency. Get out and stay out.
Fire prevention tips
Stay in the kitchen when there is food cooking on the stove. Cooking is the No. 1 cause of house fires in Minnesota.
Keep fire tools like matches and lighters away from children; locking those items up is best.
Be a good role model and use fire responsibly; children model adult behavior.
Use battery-operated candles instead of flaming ones.
Keep flammable materials at least three feet away from any heat source, including:
- Furnaces and water heaters