Preventing kitchen fires the focus of Fire Safety Week

Castlegar fire crews will be out to local area schools soon, providing hands-on demonstrations and educational safety materials to children.

Cover of a fire safety booklet provided by Emergency Management BC.

Castlegar fire officials and the B.C. government are encouraging British Columbians to make sure every member of their family knows the recipe for preventing kitchen fires during National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 6-12).

Each year, Fire Prevention Week highlights a key aspect of fire education. This year’s theme, Prevent Kitchen Fires, focuses on ensuring every member of the family knows about safety in the kitchen.

Duane Monsen, deputy fire chief for the City of Castlegar, said the department shares the use of an educational “Learn Not to Burn” fire house with the Trail FIre Department. The small house mockup is on a trailer and even has a miniature kitchen.

“We take it around to all of the elementary schools and the Blueberry school,” said Monsen. “It has a little kitchen in it and we give out about 700 [fire] safety books to kids.”

He said it usually takes a crew of about four to visit the schools over the course of a couple of weeks.

Cooking is the leading cause of determined home fires and fire related injuries in British Columbia, with 33 per cent of fire injuries caused by cooking and equipment and 34 per cent of residential fires starting in the kitchen. There were 811 fires related to cooking equipment in 2012.

Emergency Management BC and the Office of the Fire Commissioner are supporting local fire officials during this year’s Fire Prevention Week with a fire safety activity booklet for children ages 5 to 8. It highlights fire and burn hazards, knowing what to do in case of a fire and home escape planning.

In addition to making sure everyone knows about kitchen safety, every household in B.C. should have working smoke alarms — particularly in sleeping areas — and an extinguisher. Families are encouraged to check smoke alarm batteries monthly and mark their calendars to ensure they clean the devices twice a year.

In British Columbia during 2012, 6,780 reported fires caused 266 injuries (231 for civilians and 35 for firefighters) and 35 deaths.During Fire Prevention Week 2013, the Office of the Fire Commissioner is also supporting participating fire departments with an iPad contest for children ages 5 to 8 (kindergarten to Grade 3).

For more information on Fire Safety Week including the iPad contest, fire safety tips, activity booklets and family and school resources, visit: http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca/ofc/public-ed/fire-prevention-week/index.htm

 

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