Problems with faulty natural gas appliances must be checked out by an appliance technician. If you smell gas in or outside your home please call city hall at 507-945-8127, If you feel that the leak may be an emergency call 911.

 Any resident that has a carbon monoxide detector that beeps or you or family members are feeling symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, nausea, light headed, confusion) please call the Fire Department by dialing 911!

Problems with water, sewer or electric, or natural gas call City Hall at 507-945-8127.


A Factsheet on Home Electrical Fire Prevention

Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and injure 1,000 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures, but many more are caused by incorrectly installed wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) would like consumers to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from electrical fires.

The Problem

During a typical year, home electrical problems account for 26,100 fires and $1 billion in property losses. About half of all residential electrical fires involve electrical wiring.

December and January are the most dangerous months for electrical fires. Fire deaths are highest in winter months which call for more indoor activities and increases in lighting, heating, and appliance use. The bedroom is the leading area of fire origin for residential building electrical fires. However, electrical fires that begin in the living room/family room/den areas result in the most deaths.

The Cause

  • Most electrical distribution fires result from problems with “fixed wiring” such as faulty electrical outlets and old wiring. Problems with cords (such as extension and appliance cords), plugs, receptacles, and switches also cause many home electrical fires.
  • Light fixtures and lamps/light bulbs are also leading causes of electrical fires.
  • Many avoidable electrical fires can be traced to misuse of electric cords, such as overloading circuits, poor maintenance, and running the cords under rugs or in high traffic areas.

Safety Precautions

  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately. Do not try to repair them.
  • Buy only appliances that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Major and small appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord. Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Replace any electrical tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks.
  • Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection and have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Keep clothes, curtains, and other items that can catch fire at least three feet from all portable electric space heaters.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
  • Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture, under rugs and carpets, or across doorways.
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a qualified electrician determine if additional circuits or wall outlets are needed.
  • Electrical work should be done only by a qualified electrician. Call an electrician if you have any of the following:
    • Recurring problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
    • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
    • Discolored or warm wall outlets or switches
    • A burning smell or rubbery odor coming from an appliance
    • Flickering lights
    • Sparks from a wall outlet
    • Cracked or broken wall outlets

Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.


Natural Gas Safety


It’s important for you to do your part to make a safe fuel even safer. Here are some do’s and don’ts  for natural gas safety.

• Learn all you can about natural gas. The more you know…the more you will be safe.

• Use your nose. If you ever detect even a small amount of the odor of natural gas in the air, don’t stay—get away. Then, contact your natural gas provider. If you don’t know that number, dial emergency services, 9-1-1.

• Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)

• Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.

• Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.

• Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.

• Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.

• Review these natural gas safety tips regularly with ALL family members and coworkers.

• Ever let small children play with or near natural gas appliances or pipes, even the knobs on the oven or cooktop.

• Use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home, under any circumstances.

• Move or install a gas appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance.

• Use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.

• Install a gas appliance yourself, unless you area a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.

• Ever store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.

• Above all, don’t forget to learn what to do if you ever smell natural gas in the air: SMELL GAS? ACT FAST!

IT’S BEST TO BE SAFE: If you smell gas RIGHT NOW—don’t touch or turn off your computer—leave the area! After you go someplace away from the odor, call your natural gas provider. If you don’t know that number, dial emergency services, 9-1-1.


Follow the tips below for saving water indoors.

Bathroom use accounts for about 75 percent of the water used inside the home.

  • Check regularly for any leaks in your toilet, faucets and water hose bibs and fix them. Water saved: up to 200 gallons per day.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead. Water saved: about 2 gallons per minute.
  • Replace older, larger-use toilets with the newer higher efficiency toilets. Water saved: .5 to 5 gallons per flush.
  • Take short showers and save the baths for special occasions. Water saved: 2 to 5 gallons per minute.

About 8 percent of in-home water use takes place in the kitchen.

  • Don’t rinse dishes before loading dishwasher. Water saved: 20 gallons per load.
  • Wash only full loads in the dishwasher. An efficient dishwasher usually uses much less water than washing dishes by hand.
  • Install a low-flow faucet aerator, which can cut water use in half. Water saved: 1 to 2 gallons per minute.
  • When buying a new dishwasher, consider purchasing a water-saving model. (New models use up to 25 percent less water than older ones.) Water saved: 3 gallons per load.

Around the house

  • Wash only full loads in the clothes washer. Washing small loads uses over twice as much water per pound of laundry.
  • When buying a new clothes washer, consider purchasing a water-saving model. Water saved: up to 40 gallons per load.
  • Insulate hot water pipes where possible to avoid long delays (and wasted water) while waiting for the water to “run hot.” When building a new home, keep the distance short between the hot water heater and showers and other places that hot water is used.