Early Sunday morning in North Minneapolis, just a few blocks from my own home, a fire started in a home and three children lost their lives. Just a few minutes after the fire started the home was engulfed. This family had just moved into the home and the furnace was not yet working. It was cold and they used the only other heat source they could think of -- they used the stove. Something went wrong and three children could not be saved. Using the stove for heat is never a good idea, but I can see a frustrated parent wanting to do something to keep herself and her young children warm.

Gordy Kosfeld will be talking with Faribault's fire chief on Friday's AM Minnesota for smart fire-safety ideas. In the meantime, here are some suggestions from the Red Cross:

    • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 911 for help.
    • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
    • Test smoke alarms once a month; if they’re not working, change the batteries.
    • Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year. If you don't practice it, you don't have a plan.
    • Many fires start in the kitchen. "Keep an eye on what you fry." Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove top.
    • “3 feet from the heat.” Make sure that furniture, curtains, dish towels and anything that could catch fire is at least 3 feet from any type of heat source.
    • Never smoke in bed
    • Make sure large and small appliances are plugged directly into outlets.

Change smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries at least once a year unless they have long-life lithium batteries. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Test alarms once a month.

You can save your life, and your family's lives by observing these simple tasks.