Watch CBS News

"Winter hazard week" targets holiday home safety and fire risks

"Winter hazard week" targets holiday home safety and fire risks
"Winter hazard week" targets holiday home safety and fire risks 02:20

OAKDALE, Minn. -- Minnesota's Department of Public Safety hopes a targeted holiday home safety campaign could lead to a reduced number of winter fires and other accidents. 

Thirty-seven people died in Minnesota housefires so far in 2022; in 2021 there were 67 fire deaths, with 12 of those fire fatalities happening during the holiday season.

"Many times, it's a preventable accident that caused this," said Minnesota Fire Marshal Jim Smith. 

Smith says home cooking accidents, Christmas tree fires, space heater accidents and carbon monoxide deaths are all a threat when snow begins to fall. 

"One of the biggest reasons around fires this time of year is the family and friends that gather." He said. "If you're watching what you're cooking on the stove, it's a little more difficult and a little more rare to see a cooking fire."

Here are some tips for keeping your home safe during this holiday season: 

Avoiding or handling a grease fire

  • Keep a close eye on what you're cooking. 
  • Keep flammable things like paper towels away from your stove
  • Have a lid close by – if a fire starts, slide a lid or covering over the pan. Don't try to pick up the pan or pour water on the fire. Immediately turn off the heat to your stove. 
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen.

Avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Keep a working CO monitor in your home
  • Routinely test it

Avoiding other common fires

  • If you bring a Christmas tree into your home, keep it thoroughly watered. Dry trees are more likely to burn quickly. 
  • Maintain working smoke detectors in your home
  • Don't use an oven to heat your home
  • Maintain safe use of space heaters in your home 
  • Check lint/dryer vents to avoid blockage

"Our hope is that people totally, thoroughly enjoy this time of year," Smith said. "If you do all of that stuff, you're going to have the greatest holiday season you've ever had."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.