October is Fire Safety Month, with Fire Prevention Week beginning Sunday, October 4th, and ending on Saturday, October 10th. Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has run an annual campaign to help educate the public on fire safety in effort to reduce the number of deaths caused by fire.
Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Weekfor more than 90 years —to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services encourages all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme. “The most important step you should take when cooking is to never leave food unattended. This is when most cooking fires occur,” said Lisa Grisham, Senior Fire Educator. “A cooking fire can grow quickly. I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented,” added Grisham
Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services wants to share safety tips to keep you from having a cooking fire.
• Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires involving cooking equipment.
• The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.
• If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly and stay in the home.
• Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it’s cool.
• Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
• Loose clothing can hang down onto stove burners and catch fire. Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
• Smoke alarms detect and alert people to a fire in the early stages. Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire.
• Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
• Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
Home Fire Escape Planning and Practice Home fire escape planning should include the following:
• Drawing a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
• Going to each room and pointing to the two ways out
• Making sure someone will help children, older adults, and people with disabilities wake up and get out
• Teaching children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them
• Establishing a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet after exiting
• Having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms • Pushing the smoke alarm button to start the drill
• Practicing what to do in case there is smoke: Get low and go. Get out fast.
• Practicing using different ways out and closing doors behind you as you leave
• Never going back for people, pets, or things
• Going to your outdoor meeting place
• Calling 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone
• Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.
• Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires.
• All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from heating equipment.
• Have a 3-foot (1-metre) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Purchase and use only portable space heaters listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
• Have a qualified professional install heating equipment.
• Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.
Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services is getting the message out on kitchen safety by posting banners at select fire stations throughout the county, and having messages on digital road signs and the Canton Theatre Marquis.
“We will also be hosting a series of events in support of this year’s campaign including activities at the Touch the Truck event on October 3rd at Veterans Memorial Park. We are also doing virtual classroom sessions with 4-H and the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services’ Foster program and sending a kitchen safety video to Cherokee County schools. There will be smoke alarm and battery check events in local adult living communities, too,” stated Grisham.
Grisham also said that the community has been very supportive with the program this year. “We’ve received proclamations from the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners and all of the cities, too. I also want to give a big shout out to Jey Willis with State Farm Insurance of Canton who came out to Station 16 in Canton last Thursday and donated a Fire Prevention Week kit to Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services,” added Grisham.
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Cherokee County, please contact Lisa Grisham with the Community Risk Reduction Division at 678-493-6296. For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit www.fpw.org.