MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Already this year, three people in Minneapolis have lost their lives to fires, and as temperatures drop firefighters often see more fires in homes. The reason? People turn to unsafe methods of heating their homes.
Minneapolis fire safety and prevention educator Cassidy Anderson spoke with KARE 11 about how important it is to stay safe this winter.
"We can prevent all of those fires by just being more careful," she insists.
Anderson said unattended cooking is the number one cause of fires in residential homes. "We say look when you cook, keep an eye on what you fry, stand by your pan."
During winter unattended candles and space heaters add to the risk. "So with space heaters number one they should only be used in a room that is occupied by an adult," Anderson said.
"They should be three feet away from anything that can catch on fire so furniture, blankets, drapes and I would recommend shut them off and even unplug them before you leave the room."
Anderson offers these tips for caring for a space heater before you go to sleep at night:
"Get the room toasty before you go to bed to whatever temperature specifications are right for you but then do turn that heater off. You're not going to notice it during the sleeping hours that the room has gone down a few degrees overnight."
She also emphasized the importance of smoke detectors. Make sure your smoke detectors have fresh batteries, and test them monthly.
"Research has shown that up to 75% of people that die in fires did not have either a working smoke alarm or any alarm. so have them inside the home have them on every level and make sure they're working."