Valuing Life at a Moment’s Notice….
Thoughts on Community Safety by Chief of Department Bruce Lockwood
Town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department
OCTOBER is NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION MONTH
Avoid Distracted Cooking by Serving Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen
In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge signed a proclamation to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which burned from October 8-10, 1871. This initiative established Fire Prevention Week. While this Week ofspecial health and fire safety programming runs October 4-10, 2020, many Fire Departments take the opportunity to offer enhanced prevention initiatives throughout the month of October.
. There was a request for a hot cup of tea and some conversation from a visiting daughter. Instead of turning on the stove top, however, the oven knob was turned to the right. Short of storage space, the oven had been used to store plastic containers, which quickly ignited.
. Breakfast was still cooking on the stove when this Canton resident rushed out the door, headed to work. Little did she know that the sirens, heard wailing through the traffic minutes later, were fire apparatus responding to her home.
. A forgotten potato, cooking for too long a time in the microwave oven, dried out and carbonized then filled the home with smoke.
In Response: More people than ever are cooking at home, versus visiting or takIng-out from restaurants, due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the majority of house fires typically begin in the kitchen, with distracted cooking being the leading cause. These types of fires, however, are very preventable if you remember some basic safety precautions:
➢Children Require Special Attention. Create a safety zone of at least three feet around the cooking area, where children are not permitted. And, never ever hold a child while you cook.
➢Leisure Wear is Here to Stay. Be careful when cooking while wearing casual, loose fitting clothing. Short/tightly rolled up sleeves can prevent You from catching on fire.
➢Ping. Ring. Zoom. If the phone pings; if someone rings the doorbell with another Amazon delivery; if the Zoom meeting is waiting on you, take a moment to shut off the stove before responding.
➢Purchase & Learn How to Use a Kitchen Fire Extinguisher. There are extinguishers specially designed for kitchen grease, oil and fat fires. The purpose of this safety equipment is not to fight the fire, but to slow it down enough to give everyone time to get out of the home.
➢Oven Mitt on Fire? Keep any items that could catch fire: wooden utensils, plastic food packaging, cloth or paper dish towels, etc., away from the heat source on the stove top.
➢Grease Fire? If possible, slide a metal lid over the burning pan or pot. Turn off the stove and do not remove the lid until the pot or pan has cooled down completely.
➢Oven Fire? Shut the heat off. Do not open the oven door.
Today, your home has become the virtual headquarters for children’s education; employer meetings; and/or experimenting with the newest recipe for banana bread. However, firefighting is not one of these DIY projects. So, don’t ever hesitate to call Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department, after you have quickly and safely evacuated your home during a kitchen, or any, fire emergency.
Canton’s Volunteer Firefighters, EMTs and Fire Police are trained to handle kitchen and all other types of fire, smoke, medical and hazardous emergencies. Prevention, however, is key to life safety in our community. That’s where you can help keep us, you and your family healthy and protected throughout the year.
Yours in safety,
Bruce Lockwood, Chief of Department