Tricounty News

Having a plan can keep your family alive in a house fire

Fire Marshal urges families to prepare in light of seven recent residential fire fatalities

With several weeks left in the historically fire-heavy Holiday season, the state fire marshal reminds Minnesotans to learn and practice fire safety so they can survive a residential fire.

November and December are historically dangerous months for residential fires in Minnesota. This year has been no exception. There have been seven fire fatalities since Thanksgiving Eve, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division.

“Escape options, planning and practice keep people alive in a building fire,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said. “Children as young as 3 years old can be taught to get out and stay out if parents plan and practice with them often.”

To prepare your family for fast escape from a fire

• Draw a diagram of your home. Be sure to mark windows and doors.

• Plan two ways out of each room.

• Teach your kids to crawl low to protect themselves if they see smoke. 

• Plan an outside meeting place for everyone in your home.

• Practice your escape plan with every family member.

• Make sure your kids know the sound of a smoke alarm and what steps to take when it goes off. 

• If you’re staying somewhere away from home, know how to escape there, too.

• Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.

Working smoke alarms are critical to surviving a house fire. Smoke alarms need to be checked often and batteries changed at least once a year. Alarms should be replaced after 10 years.

About the Minnesota Department Public Safety

The Department of Public Safety comprises 11 divisions where employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the State Fire Marshal Division

The mission of the State Fire Marshal Division is to protect lives and property by fostering a fire-safe environment through fire/arson investigation, code development and enforcement, regulation, data collection and public education. Data collected by the State Fire Marshal Division from fire departments statewide is analyzed and used to determine the best methods of public education and enforcement to improve fire safety in our state.

State Fire Marshal Division 2012 statistics

• One structure fire was reported in Minnesota every 1.4 hours.

• 4,863 of a total 6,436 structure fires in Minnesota occurred in residential property.

• 58 percent of fire deaths occurred where people generally feel safest – at home.

DWI has consequences

The holidays are a popular time for parties. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office is putting extra DWI enforcement on during this time to prevent drunk driving crashes.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety is coordinating the enforcement effort. Extra DWI enforcement will continue through December.

“Enforcing seat belt laws and arresting impaired drivers are preventive measures we take to ensure safety on Minnesota roads,” says Sheriff Joe Hagerty. “Seat belts and designated drivers must be on the menu to ensure travel safety during the holidays.”

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office asks motorists to follow these traffic safety tips to ensure safe Holiday Travel.


Local crime blotters Dec. 12, 2013

Chicken coop fire in Manannah

Monday, Dec. 9, at 4:51 p.m. the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a chicken coop on fire at the address of 34766 587th Avenue, Manannah Township. A Meeker County Deputy and the Eden Valley Fire Department were dispatched to the fire.

The chicken coop was used to house three pet chickens and five pet Canadian geese. The renter of the property, Cheryl Elliott, 53, was able to get two of the geese out of the building before the building became engulfed with fire. She sustained minor burns to her hands while rescuing the two geese, she refused medical treatment.

The fire is believed to have started by heat lamps that were being used inside the chicken coop. The approximate value of the 8’ X 10’ chicken coop and its contents is $5,000, and was a total loss. 


Tips for safe walking in snow and ice

From the Snow & Ice Management Association

Falls account for more than one million injuries in the U.S. annually. There are four types of walking accidents with the most common being the slip and fall. That’s the type of fall that happens when you fall because of a surface not cleared of snow or ice.

“Every winter the hazards of driving in snow and icy conditions are noted, but rarely is walking on snow and ice addressed,” said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, Executive Director of the Snow & Ice Management Association. “Slipping and falling while walking accounts for a large number of winter-related injuries and can have an impact on the quality of life for the injured person.”

SIMA, the national nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, has some tips on safe winter walking.


DNR issues ice warning for aerated lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warns ice anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that feature aeration systems.

”Open water areas created by aeration systems can shift or change shapes depending on weather conditions,” said Marilyn Danks, DNR aquatic biologist. “Leaks may develop in air lines creating other areas of weak ice or open water.”

Aeration systems are generally operated from the time lakes freeze until the ice breaks up in the spring. They help prevent winterkill of fish, but they also create areas of open water and thin ice, which are significant hazards.