Smoke alarms save lives. It's as simple as that.
What kind of smoke detector should I buy?
The Minnetonka Fire Department does not recommend specific smoke detector manufacturers. However, we do recommend that electric smoke alarms be hard-wired and UL listed. In addition, many older model smoke detectors have no test button. If your smoke detector is more than ten years old, consider replacing it.
Where should I install smoke alarms?
The National Fire Protection Association provides great information on the proper placement of smoke detectors. You may also call the Minnetonka Fire Department with any questions: 952-939-8598.
Why is my smoke alarm is beeping?
The problem is usually a weak or improper battery. Replace with a fresh battery as recommended by the manufacturer, or replace with a 110-volt hard-wired smoke detector.
My smoke alarm goes off a lot.
There could be a number of causes for repeated false alarms from a smoke detector. Dust particles can and often do set off false alarms, so first try cleaning the smoke detector with a vacuum cleaner brush. If the unit is too close to a kitchen, bathroom or heat register, it may need to be relocated. The detector could be defective or simply old. Consider replacing your detector if it is more than ten years old.
Every year, cooking flames are one of the top causes of residential fires.
- Never walk away from an active stove top.
- Make sure you set a timer to alert you when oven-cooked food is done.
- If a grease fire starts in a pan:
- Slide a lid over the pan and turn the burner off.
- If it's a small fire, douse flames with baking soda or salt.
- Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
- If there's a fire in a microwave or oven, keep the door closed. The fire will stay contained until the fire department arrives.
The Minnesota State Fire code and the Minnetonka Fire Prevention code prohibit the use and storage of charcoal and charcoal barbecue grills on apartment and condominium balconies and within 15 feet of any ground floor unit. This regulation applies to all buildings containing three or more dwelling units.
- Gas or electric grills may be used if they are permanently mounted and maintain an 18-inch clearance to combustible material.
- Apartment owners or condominium associations may impose regulations more restrictive than those above.
- Violation of the Fire Prevention Code is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $700 and/or 90 days in jail.
What fireworks are legal?Examples of fireworks that are legal to sell, possess and use by the public on or after April 31, 2002, as permitted by Minnesota Statute 624.20(C) include the following:
- Wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of mixture per item.
- Other sparkling items which are nonexplosive and nonaerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical mixture per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes, such as:
- Cylindrical fountain: Upon ignition, a shower of colored sparks or smoke and sometimes a whistling effect is produced.
- Cone fountain: The effect is the same as that of a cylindrical fountain. When more than one cone is mounted on a common base, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed 200 grams.
- Illuminating torch
- Wheel: Pyrotechnic device intended to be attached to a post or tree by means of a nail or string. Upon ignition, the wheel revolves, producing a shower of color and sparks and, sometimes, a whistling effect.
- Ground spinner: Small device venting out an orifice usually on the side of the tube. Similar in operation to a wheel but intended to be placed flat on the ground and ignited. The rapidly spinning device produces a shower of sparks and color.
- Flitter sparkler: Narrow paper tube attached to a stick or wire that produces color and sparks upon ignition. The paper at one end of the tube is ignited to make the device function.
- Flash/Strobe: Emit a bright light.
- Novelty items such as snakes and glow worms, smoke devices or trick noisemakers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers and drop pops, each consisting of not more than twenty-five hundredths grains of explosive mixture.
What fireworks are illegal?Examples of fireworks that continue to be illegal to sell, possess and use, except as permitted under Minnesota Statute 624.20, include the following:
- Any fireworks that are explosive and/or aerial.
- Firecrackers (any size), lady fingers, sky rockets, bottle rockets and missile-type rockets.
- Helicopters, aerial spinners, planes, UFOs
- Roman candles
- Mines or shells (heavy cardboard or paper tube attached to a base – upon ignition stars, balls or reports are propelled into the air)
- 1.3G Display (special or class B) fireworks
- Aerial shells
- Theatrical pyrotechnics (see Minn. Stat. 624.20 to 624.25)
Where should I store my propane tank?
All propane tanks should be stored outside or in a detached shed, protected from the elements and at least 10 feet from any openings to the building, including basement windows, doors and vents. Clear a 10-foot space around propane tanks in gravel, rock or short, well-watered grass.
How do I dispose of an old propane tank?
Return all empty propane tanks to a refill outlet. Do not keep them around your home or garage, and do not include them with your regular refuse pick-up. For tank disposal, contact Bauer’s Custom Hitches, 13118 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka (952-979-9129), or Natrogas, 3900 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis (612-529-9276). There is a fee for this service.
The National Fire Protection Association provides great information on the use of fire extinguishers. You may also call the Minnetonka Fire Department with any questions: 952-939-8598.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. When breathed into the body, CO combines with the blood and prevents it from absorbing oxygen. When this oxygen-deficient blood reaches the heart and brain, it can damage these organs and cause illness or death.
What are the signs of carbon monoxide exposure?
- Symptoms of mild exposure include: slight headache, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, blurred vision and flu-like symptoms that disappear when the person breathes fresh air.
- Symptoms of medium exposure include: drowsiness, confusion, severe headache and rapid heart rate.
- Symptoms of severe exposure include: convulsions, unconsciousness, cardiac/respiratory failure and even death.
What should I do if I suspect carbon monoxide is present?
- If you’re experiencing physical symptoms, get everyone - including pets - out of your home or building and call 911.
- If you’re not experiencing physical symptoms, open windows to ventilate the area, shut off the furnace and other fuel-burning appliances, and call CenterPoint Energy at 612-372-5050 for an emergency inspection. If carbon monoxide is discovered, don’t return to the home or building until the source has been found and the problem corrected.
If I smell natural gas, is that the same as carbon monoxide?
No. Carbon monoxide has no smell. When you smell natural gas, you’re smelling an odorant that is added for safety reasons. If you smell natural gas, leave your home immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 612-372-5050 from another location.
How can I prevent carbon monoxide build up?
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Never operate an automobile, lawnmower, any combustion engine, or barbecue or similar equipment in an enclosed area, even with the door open.
- Never leave a fire smoldering in a fireplace.
- Have fuel-burning equipment checked regularly by a qualified technician. Most manufacturers recommend annual checkups.
- Make sure your fresh air intakes are not blocked or restricted.
- Be sure all fuel-burning appliances and equipment are properly vented to the outdoors.
- Keep vents and chimneys clear of debris or other blockages, especially during and after snowstorms.
- Don’t try to heat a room with a gas range, oven or clothes dryer.
- Visit the National Fire Protection Association for more safety tips.