With just about a week left in the year, colder temperatures are on the way as the calendar flips over to January. Many Minnesotans know how to make sure they are heating their homes safely this winter, but after the news from earlier this week of 7 people found deceased in a home, from carbon monoxide poisoning, now is a good time to go over some safety tips you can implement before the really cold air comes down from Canada.

Here are some tips for safely heating your home this winter, keeping your family both warm and safe from the Minnesota Department of Health. 

  • Properly vent and maintain fuel-burning appliances
    • Never use appliances intended for outdoor use inside. Examples include barbecue grills, camp stoves, portable generators, or gas-powered lawn equipment. Do not use an oven to heat your home. Not only is it a fire risk, but it is also a carbon monoxide hazard. Do not run or idle your vehicle in an attached garage. Instead, back your vehicle out right away. Check that your vehicle’s exhaust pipe is not blocked, for example, by snow during the winter.
  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning
    • the first signs of exposure include mild headache and breathlessness with moderate exercise. Continued exposure can lead to more severe headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
  • Install and maintain CO alarms in your home
    • Minnesota state law (MN Statute 299F.50) requires that every home have at least one operational CO alarm within 10 feet of every room legally used for sleeping.

Another easy thing you can do to make sure you are keeping your family warm and safe, don't leave electric space heaters or candles unattended as they can cause burns and or start a fire if left unattended for any amount of time.

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