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State Fire Marshal


Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Jen Longaecker  651-201-7570
December 13, 2013
Having a Plan Can Keep Your Family Alive in a House Fire
Fire Marshal Urges Families to Prepare in Light of 7 Recent Residentail Fire Fatalities
ST. PAUL, Minn. — 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. 


445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 |