The Edmond Sun
“Hello, and welcome to ‘Fire House Cooking’ with a twist of safety. I’m Battalion Chief Doug Hall and this is Firefighter-Paramedic Lindall Wood.”
Nearby, Edmond TV/Video Specialist Dwight Polson was operating his videography gear as Hall and Wood stood behind the ingredients for “Fire House Chili.”
“Hello there,” Wood said. “Today we’ll be not only introducing you to a great fire house recipe but will also be teaching you some basic kitchen fire safety tips that will keep you and your family safe.”
Each October, the National Fire Protection Association sponsors a nationwide campaign to highlight the importance of fire safety education. The City of Edmond is producing the video in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 6-12), and this year’s theme is preventing kitchen fires.
The week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which inspired reform across the country.
Mike Barnes, the Edmond Fire Department’s chief of fire prevention, said cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Nationally in 2011, cooking caused 44 percent of reported home fires, causing 470 deaths, more than 5,000 injuries and property damage of $1 billion, according to the NFPA.
During Fire Prevention Week, the Fire Department will be doing skits at various public schools based on the game show theme, Barnes said. Three students will come up with their teachers. A correct answer of a relevant question by a student results in their teacher putting on firefighter gear. First child to dress their teacher wins.
“It’s gonna be fun,” Barnes said. “The kids always have a ball and they always learn a lot.”
An example of the information they’ll receive is that safety experts talk about a “safe zone” in which children stay 3-5 feet away from the stove, Barnes said. If the parent is cooking and they turn for some reason while they are cooking they don’t trip on a toy or a child, Barnes said.
Another safety tip is turning the handle of a skillet so it does not extend past the front of the stove, Barnes said. Little children are very curious and they will pull the handle and the contents of the pan on top of them, Barnes said.
For example, the program will be at Washington Irving Elementary and Charles Haskell Oct. 4, Orvis Risner Elementary Oct. 8 and St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Catholic School Oct. 18.
Probably the biggest reason for the national rise in kitchen fires is people forgetting about cooking on a stove top, Barnes said. They put a pan of grease on to warm, which takes some time, and get distracted by a visitor at the door.
Once the oil reaches the self-ignition point it will ignite and burn. Simply covering the skillet with the lid will kill the fuel — oxygen — snuff out the fire. If it’s smoking, don’t pick it up without proper protection because the skillet will be hot enough to cause second- or third-degree burns, which are susceptible to infection.
Running cool tap water for 5-10 minutes can help stop the burning process, Barnes said. To prevent this from happening, if you leave the stove, Barnes recommended habitually carrying an oven mit as a reminder that you’re cooking.
Locally, the Edmond Fire Department in partnership with the citizens have done a great job of keeping the number of kitchen fires down, Barnes said. Those that have occurred were controlled by sprinkler systems until fire crews arrived, Barnes said.
“Our citizens really pay attention to it,” he said.
Also, fire personnel perform apparatus demonstrations, educating thousands of citizens annually, Barnes said. They show the trucks off and they talk about safety. Other Fire Department fire prevention efforts include fire drills, its Children’s Safety Village, Citizens Fire Academy, Fire Watch, a smoke alarm program and Risk Watch, comprehensive injury prevention curriculum for children age preschool through eighth grade.
Polson said plans call for the cooking safety video to be completed by the start of Fire Prevention Week. He said it will be accessible on Cox channel 20, via AT&T U-verse and on the city’s YouTube channel.
Barnes said if you’re ever facing a fire emergency, call 911. For more information about fire prevention, call the fire administration office at 216-7300 or visit the Edmond Fire Department’s section on the city’s website: edmondok.com.
341-2121 ext. 108