Minnesota state agencies is urging those to stay safe at home over the holidays and throughout the winter as fires, unsafe toys and carbon monoxide are among the biggest concerns this time of year.
The Minnesota Departments of Public Safety and Health says there is free lead-testing for toys in Minneapolis and Cloquet.
According to State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl, 80% of the 56 fire deaths in the state during 2011 happened in the home and residential fires occur most frequently during the holiday season.
Last year, 166 home fires were reported between December 24 and January 1.
Every year, the leading causes of fires are cooking incidents, candles or other open flames, and heating problems. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.
Last year, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission issued 30 recalls of unsafe toys and 15 have been issued to date in 2012.
In most cases, the potential risks were burns, chocking or injuries, but exposure to lead or lead paint continues to be a possibility.
Carbon monoxide (CO) problems tend to spike during the winter; in 2011, nearly one-third of incidents reported to Minnesota fire departments — 472 out of 1,732 — occurred in January and December.
Posted to the web by Jenna Vogt