Op-Ed: National Fire Prevention Week

This week is National Fire Prevention Week. This year’s 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme TM, is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” It effectively serves to remind us to stay alert and use caution when cooking to reduce the risk of kitchen fires as well as reminds us that we can take personal steps to help prevent fires in our homes and to make ourselves more aware of fire safety.
Here are are a few facts from the National Fire Prevention Association® (NFPA®):
—Fire is a serious public safety concern both locally and nationally, and homes are the locations where people are at greatest risk from fire.
—Home fires killed more than 2,630 people in the United States in 2017, according to the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®), and fire departments in the United States responded to 357,000 home fires.
—Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States where fire departments responded to more than 173,200 annually between 2013 and 2017.
—Two of every five home fires start in the kitchen with 31 percent of these fires resulting from unattended cooking.
—More than half of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
—Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire
—People should stay in the kitchen when frying food on the stovetop, keep a three-foot kid-free zone around cooking areas and keep anything that can catch fire away from stove tops.
—Those individuals who have planned and practiced a home fire escape plan are more prepared and will therefore be more likely to survive a fire.
—Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half. Install one in your home, and change the batteries when the time changes.
All citizens are encouraged to check their kitchens for fire hazards and using safe cooking practices during Fire Prevention Week 2020 and all the time, and to support the many public safety efforts of your local fire departments.
Our local firefighters have a difficult job and need more appreciation for the job they do. They undergo a great deal of training just to be able to do the job they do, and every time they enter a fire, they are putting their own health and safety at risk. National Fire Prevention Week is not only a good time to assess our own fire risks in our homes and businesses and to discuss a plan of action should a fire occur, it’s also a great time to remember the courage and sacrifice of our firefighters and to thank them for their service.

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