Winter Fire Safety

  • Most home fires occur in winter and peak in January.
  • Each year in the U.S. there is more than $2 billion in property loss due to winter home fires.
  • Last year in MN, 39% of fire deaths occurred October -December.

Freeze Out Winter Fires

  • Keep all doors and windows that could be used for an escape route clear of snow and ice.
  • Keep all vents - fireplace, dryer, furnace and oven - clear of snow, ice and debris.
  • Never use a blow torch to thaw frozen pipes.
  • Use flashlights, not candles, if you lose power.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heat sources; do not use your oven to heat your home.
Get Ahead of the Winter Freeze and Check These 10 Tips
Click here to download/print a Winter Safety 10 Tip Checklist
  • Inspect and service furnace by a qualified professional. (A furnace should be serviced at least once a year.)
  • Clean and inspect chimneys and vents by a qualified professional and check for creosote build-up. (Not cleaning your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires from built up creosote. This service needs to be done at least once a year.)
  • Wood for a fireplace or wood stove should be dry, seasoned wood.
  • Fireplace screen should be metal or heat-tempered glass, in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace.
  • Have a covered metal container ready to use to dispose cooled ashes. (The ash container should be kept at least 10 feet from the home and any nearby buildings.)
  • Teach children to stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace, wood/pellet stove, oil stove or other space heaters.
  • Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
  • Plug portable space heaters directly into an outlet (not an extension cord) and place at least 3 feet from anything that can burn; like bedding, paper, walls, and even people. (Place notes throughout your home to remind you to turn off portable heaters when you leave a room or go to bed.)
  • Test smoke alarms and make sure they are working. (You need smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, the smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.)
  • Test carbon monoxide alarms and make sure they are working. (Carbon monoxide alarms should be located outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.)