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Editorial: How to prevent a fire tragedy

We have seen some bad structure fires during the last few winters. Homes were lost and property was destroyed. Let's not let that happen this winter. Most home fires occur in the winter and peak in January, according to the Minnesota Department o...

We have seen some bad structure fires during the last few winters. Homes were lost and property was destroyed.
Let’s not let that happen this winter.
Most home fires occur in the winter and peak in January, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
More than $2 billion in property loss goes up in smoke every year in the U.S. because of winter home fires.
There are steps families can take to reduce the chances of a fire and to be better prepared in case a fire breaks out in their home. The DPS offers these tips for “freezing out” winter fires:
n Keep all doors and windows that could be used for an escape route clear of snow and ice.
n Keep all vents – fireplace, dryer, furnace and oven – clear of snow, ice and debris.
n Never use a blowtorch to thaw frozen pipes.
n Use flashlights, not candles, if you lose power.
n Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heat sources.
n Do not use your oven to hear your home.
Minnesota Fire Marshal Bruce West emphasizes that most fires can be prevented. “Every fire death is tragic, but loss of life is often avoidable,” West said. “Taking just five minutes to talk with your family can make a big difference and could save lives.”
West recommends the following:
n Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and check the batteries.
n Make sure nobody falls asleep with a space heater on.
n Talk about fire escape plans with everyone in the home, especially children.
n Discuss with kids what they should do if they see or smell smoke.
n Draw a diagram of your home. Be sure to mark windows and doors. Plan two ways out of each room.
n Teach your kids to crawl low if they see smoke.
n Plan an outside meeting place for everyone in your home.
n Practice your escape plan with every family member.
n Make sure your kids know the sound of a smoke alarm and what steps to take when it goes off.
n If you’re staying somewhere away from home, know how to escape there, too.
n Use flameless candles instead of real ones.
n Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended.

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