Residential fires increase during winter months

With the increase of heating, lighting and cooking during winter months, the risk rises for residential fires. With winter weather now around us, it is important to be cautious about what things can start home fires and how you can work to  prevent them.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the leading cause of structure fires last year in Minnesota was cooking. The top two factors last year in these fires were unattended equipment and combustibles too close to a heat source.

The agency advises people to stay in the kitchen when cooking. Turn off the stove and move the pan from the burner if you leave the room.

Keep things that can burn, such as oven mitts, towels and wooden spoons, at least three feet from the stove, and in case a fire starts while cooking, slide a tight-fitting lid on the pan and turn off the heat.

Regarding safety with Christmas trees, make sure to keep trees away from heat vents and other heat sources. Use only nonflammable decorations and throw out any holiday lights that show signs of fraying. Remove the tree from your home when the needles are brittle or begin to fall off.

As it gets cold, it is not uncommon for people to turn to other heating sources, such as space heaters, gas-burning heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces.

The Department of Public Safety offers the following tips for these alternate heating sources:

•Place any portable heating device at least 3 feet away from anything combustible, including paper, curtains, bedding and clothes.

•Monitor space heaters carefully. Turn off space heaters when you leave your home and before bedtime.

•Do not dry mittens or other combustibles over a space heater.

•Check cords for frays or breaks in insulation surrounding the wires.

•Check cords and outlets for overheating. If they feel hot, turn them off.

•Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside.

•Follow manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations.

•Cool units before refueling outside the structure.

•Make sure wood stoves are properly ventilated.

•Have a professional inspect chimneys at the start of each heating season.

•Firmly place fireplace screens when burning.

•Make sure smoke detectors are working properly.

Protect your family by following these guidelines.

Mower County

Historical Society featuring a history of the rail

Education

Minnesota State recognizes leaders with emeritus status including former RCC president

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

South Dakota man injured in crash on I-90 Tuesday night

Mower County

Training programs a big step toward filling a need for water, wastewater operators

Mower County

Daunting task lays ahead for City’s 2025 budget, operating levy

Mower County

Chop, Oman to now be tried separately in drive-by shooting case

Mower County

Mueller looking forward to building on county successes

Agriculture

Register for the Agriculture and Food Science Exploration (AFSE) Day

Mower County

In Your Community: County employees honored for completion of leadership training

Mower County

In Your Community: Joseph Company donates to Cedar Valley Services

Austin Living

On her own terms: Breanna Bortner tells her story of cancer bravely, beautifully

Brownsdale

In Your Community: Brownsdale Study Club

Education

Education Briefs: Accolades

News

Robots with hoes show farmers possible future of weed control

News

Wellness programs aim to support police officers through stressful work

News

Tobacco-like warning label for social media sought by US surgeon general who asks Congress to act

News

Deadly ATV crashes on pace to surpass last year’s total

Business

Expanding Opportunity: Austin Ford Chrysler breaks ground on addition, renovation

Mower County

Volunteers are needed for the statewide bumble bee survey

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions June 3-10

Mower County

MnDOT asks motorists, riders to safely share the road during motorcycle convention in Rochester

Mower County

City of Austin to spray for mosquitoes

Mower County

Ikes to host steak cookout

Education

Education: Accolades