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2019

Two-images. One of reporter in turnout gear speaking and the other of a firefighter fighting the fire

A national morning television show is highlighting the importance of fire safety during the holiday season. Days before Thanksgiving, the peak day of the year for home cooking fires, Good Morning America featured a live fire safety demonstration at the Delaware County Emergency Training Center conducted by Underwriters Laboratories. The furnished house used in the demonstration was filled with synthetic furniture. On cue, a living room couch was lit. The reporter gave a narration of the conditions in the house once the fire began to grow and the measures that needed to be taken to escape safely. The demonstration reinforced a number of key fire safety messages:

Working smoke alarms are essential: You may only have minutes to escape once the smoke alarm sounds. Smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside of each sleeping room and on every level of the home.

Plan ahead for your escape: Draw a map of each level of the home showing all doors and windows. Practice the plan at least twice a year, day and night and with overnight guests.

Get low and go: In a real emergency, get low and go under the smoke quickly to your outside meeting place.

Know your emergency number: Make sure everyone in the home knows how to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone outdoors at the safe meeting place or from a trusted neighbor’s phone.

Protect yourself from carbon monoxide: Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations when required by applicable laws, codes, or standards.

Closing the door: A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.

As communities prepare for Thanksgiving and other days of note in the coming months, NFPA’s holiday safety materials, and safety tips sheets on more than 60 topics will be useful in helping to curb fire-related mishaps.

Thanksgiving spread of food

More than three times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than on a typical day of the year, according to the latest U.S. Home Cooking Fires Report recently released by NFPA. The report shows that there were 1,600 reported fires on Thanksgiving in 2017, reflecting a 238 percent increase over the daily average. Unattended cooking was the leading cause of these fires.

NFPA offers a number of tips and recommendations for cooking safely this Thanksgiving:

•Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.

•When cooking a turkey, stay in your home and check on it regularly.

•Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.

•Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.

•Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could come in contact with a heat source.

•Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.

•For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.

•Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.

The Thanksgiving section of the NFPA website offers these and other tips for keeping fire safety top of mind during the holiday.

The staff, instructors and aides of the Delaware State Fire School (DSFS) had a busy schedule during Fire Prevention Week season. Beginning in early September through early November it is estimated that DSFS operated 115 programs in fire safety, school tours, injury prevention, and displays. Programs took place across the state. Program administrators Mike Lowe and Kim O’Malley sincerely thank the instructors and aides as well as the fire safety officials of the individual fire departments and organizations that made Fire Prevention Week 2019 a success.

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