Contact: Matt Lindstrom,  612-673-2148

Local fire departments from across region stress importance of fire prevention

March 14, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) The Minneapolis Fire Department is partnering with fire departments across the region to raise awareness of fire prevention following a winter in which there were 10 deaths in Minneapolis due to fire. At a news conference today, Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel, St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler and fire chiefs from St. Cloud, Richfield, Eden Prairie, Eagan discussed what folks can do to prevent fires in their homes and businesses.

Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home

Have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of your home and one carbon monoxide alarm within 10 feet of every bedroom. Folks should test their alarms every month and replace the batteries twice a year. If folks need smoke detectors or batteries, the Minneapolis Fire Department can provide those and install them in your home. Just call 311. People can also learn about the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in a fire safety video that is available in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong on the City’s YouTube channel.

Look when you cook

Most house fires start in the kitchen and unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires. The Minneapolis Fire Department encourages folks to follow these simple rules whenever they’re cooking:

        Remain in the kitchen when using the stovetop. If you have to leave, turn the stovetop off until you return.

        Stay awake, and in the house, while using the oven. If you have to leave the house, turn the oven off until you return.

        Keep your cooking area clean; keep towels, hot pad holders, storage containers, and other combustibles away from the hot stove.

        Keep children and pets away from the oven and stove.

To help folks stay safe in the kitchen, the City of Minneapolis has produced a kitchen fire safety video that is available in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong on the City’s YouTube channel.

Practice safe heating

It’s important to keep your furnace in good working condition, have it inspected annually, and replace the furnace filters every month. If you have to use a space heater, follow these guidelines:

        Use space heaters only in occupied rooms.

        Keep heaters at least 3 feet from any combustible materials – including furniture, walls, drapes, and bedding

        Keep children and pets away from space heaters

        Never use space heaters while sleeping.

Be careful if you smoke

Falling asleep with a lit cigarette is the number one cause of fire-related deaths, causing approximately half of all fire-related deaths. If you smoke in your home, follow these rules:

        Never smoke in bed

        Do not smoke when tired

        Discard cigarette butts only after completely extinguished.  Use water when possible.

        Use heavy, spill proof ashtrays

        Keep matches and lighters away from children and out of their reach.

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Published Mar 14, 2014