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Video: Minnesota State Fire Marshal weighs in on fire safety for the holiday season

Dec 17, 2020 08:36PM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Alejandra Palacios of WDIO-TV - December 17, 2020

Home fire safety is always important to remember, but especially now with more people at home due to COVID-19. With Christmas trees up and more space heaters being used, the Minnesota State Fire Marshal and American Red Cross hosted a virtual friendly reminder of fire safety tips Thursday.

Carrie Carlson from the American Red Cross said they're responding to more than two fires a day in the Minnesota and the Dakotas region. She also said we have already surpassed the number of home fire deaths in 2020 compared to last year.

Fire Marshal Jim Smith said COVID-19 fatigue is getting the best of us and that we are getting complacent with fire safety.

"We still want to make sure that even though you're cooped up at home, you cannot let your guard down. When it comes to fire safety the best thing to do is practice your fire safety actions. Make sure you always stay in the kitchen when you cook, don't overload outlets, be careful with alternative heating," said Smith.

With more and more people at home during this health pandemic, Smith said kitchen fires are a big concern and are the number one cause of residential fires.

"It's mainly because you are using a heating element like a gas stove or an electric stove and you're heating things up and so it is not out of the realm of possibilities for whatever you're cooking to start on fire," said Smith.

He also said Christmas trees are another concern during this time of the year.

"Make sure that you don't overload the outlets especially around your Christmas tree. Keep your Christmas tree watered. You do not want a dry Christmas tree," said Smith.

Smith added it's important to be prepared for the unexpected by having escape plans in place and practicing them.

"When it comes to children and even adults an escape plan is paramount. You need to sit down with your children and in a very calm and easy way explain what would happen if we had to get out of the house in a hurry and develop that plan of where do you meet if this happens," said Smith.

"We have two minutes to get out when a fire happen and in the newer homes they're made of more flammable material and more toxic material," said Carlson.

Smith said if a fire happens, you need to get out and stay out, no matter what.

"Unfortunately two fatalities this year are directly related to a resident who went back into the home to save their pet and they did not make it out. It's not worth it. If you're out of the house, stay out of the house," said Smith.

Some final reminders were to keep doors and windows used for an escape route clear of snow and ice, keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heat sources like space heaters, and make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms work properly.

To learn more tips, click here.

To see the original report and read related reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website here.

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