Smoke alarms save lives! The information below could save YOURS!
INSTALL smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
Larger homes may need ADDITIONAL smoke alarms to provide enough protection.
For the best protection, INTERCONNECT all smoke alarms so when one sounds they all sound.
An IONIZATION smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a PHOTOELECTRIC smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms (also known as dual sensor alarms) are recommended.
Smoke alarms should be INSTALLED away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance.
TEST them monthly and REPLACE BATTERIES twice a year.
REPLACE all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
Smoke Alarm Requirements (according to the Minnesota State Fire Marshal)
Your ability to get out during a fire depends on planning, practice and advance warning from smoke detectors!
Basic Fire Escape Planning
- Be sure to include all members of your family in every step of your planning!
- Draw a home escape plan showing 2 ways out of every room
- Teach children to escape themselves in case you cannot help them
- Familiarize all family members with the sound of a smoke detector
- Establish a meeting place outside your home
- If you live in a home with 2 or more stories, purchase escape ladders for the upper rooms and ensure everyone knows how to use them
- Make sure your house number is visible and legible from the street
- Practice, Practice, Practice!
If a fire breaks out in your home, follow these tips to get out safely:
- If there is smoke, stay low! Heat and smoke rises.
- Check closed interior doors with the back of your hand. If it is warm, use an alternate exit.
- Get out and stay out!
- Perform a head count at your family's meeting place. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters.
If you're trapped in a room:
- Seal yourself in!
- Use duct tape, blankets, rugs, pillows or towels to seal the doorways and vents.
- Remain near an open window and signal to the firefighters.
Escape Planning for Older Adults
At age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured in fires compared to the population at large.
- If you live in a house, consider sleeping on the ground level in a multi-story home
- Have a telephone installed where you sleep
- If you are deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing smoke alarms that use flashing lights or vibration to alert you
- Make sure you are able to open all doors and windows in your home
Apartment & High-Rise Buildings
- Be aware that at times, your best choice in a tall building fire is to stay put and wait for the firefighters to help you.
- Familiarize yourself with the building's evacuation plan
- Never use the elevator in the event of a fire
- If you're unable to exit your room due to smoke or fire in the hallway, get into a room with a window and call 9-1-1 to report your exact location. Close all doors between you and the fire and use duct tape or towels to seal the doorways and vents.
- Stay by a window and signal the firefighters when they arrive
Dryers are involved in approximately 1 out of every 23 house fires. The leading cause of dryer fires is failure to clean.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load
- Periodically check the outside exhaust while the dryer is running to make sure air is escaping freely
- Clean behind the dryer where lint often times builds up
- Use caution when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, oils or stains
- Make sure the dryer is plugged into an outlet that is suitable for its electrical needs
- Never leave the house while the dryer is running
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
Children in the Kitchen:
- Children should never be left unattended in the kitchen, especially when there is food cooking!
- Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
- Keep children at a safe distance from appliances and hot items
- Teach your kids the dangers of getting too close to the oven or stove and establish a "safe area"
- Remove tablecloths when toddlers are present; they may tug and pull at anything within their reach, easily causing hot items to fall on top of them
- Avoid giving children pots and pans to play with because they might reach for these "toys" when they contain hot foods or liquids
Ovens and Stovetops:
- Make sure your oven is tested and approved by a recognized testing facility
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Keep the stovetop free of grease, clutter and long, flowing curtains
- Wear short, close fitting sleeves when using the oven or stovetop
- If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed
- If there is a fire in a pan on the stove, put on an oven mitt and place a lid over the pot or pan until it is completely cooled
- Never put water on a grease fire
- Keep pot/pan handles turned inward and out of the way of children and pets
- If you have a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the machine. Call the Fire Department!
- Food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot, even if its container isn't
Cooktop Fire Suppressors:
A great product to consider purchasing for your home is a StoveTop FireStop. The could be the first line of defense against small residential stovetop fires. Unlike traditional fire extinguishers, StoveTop FireStop works automatically, and addresses the leading cause of home fires—unattended cooking.
Learn how to keep your family safe from the seasonal threats that may endanger you including grilling, fireworks and holiday fires!
Simply stated, fireworks are just too risky for anyone! People are urged to leave fireworks, whether legal or illegal, to professionals. Fireworks endanger not only the users, but the bystanders and surrounding buildings and property. Pyrotechnic devices ranging from sparklers to aerial rockets cause thousands of fires and serious injuries each year. NFPA Fireworks Safety Sheet
- Grills should always be used outside and never indoors, in enclosed spaces or tents
- Situate your grill away from combustible materials and out from under eaves and low-hanging branches
- Keep children and pets away from grills
- Use grilling tools/utensils with long handles to prevent burns
- Clean your grill regularly to prevent grease and fat buildup which can ignite
View the Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Carbon Monoxide Info Sheet
Exposing an Invisible Killer: CARBON MONOXIDE
Each year in America, unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning claims more than 500 lives and sends another 15,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. The importance of installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home cannot be stressed enough!