The opportunity to shake a firefighter’s hand, climb on a fire engine, tour the station, eat hot dogs and learn about fire safety at the annual Murphy Fire-Rescue Open House is not an option this year due to the pandemic.
However, Murphy Fire Marshal Perry Elliott shared tips and stats as to how the National Fire Protection Association 2020 campaign, “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” pertains to Murphy residents.
Between 2015 and 2019, MF-R responded to 21 kitchen fires in Murphy and two, so far, in 2020.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), cooking is the leading cause of unreported home fires.
The most common causes of kitchen fires in Murphy include ovens in self-cleaning mode with food left in the oven, unattended cooking such as a pot/skillet heating grease without adding food and lastly, mechanical failure of a cooking appliance.
Nationally, the top five causes of kitchen fires include: unattended cooking, abandoned or discarded material, heat source too close to combustibles, unclassified misuse of material or cooktop unintentionally turned on or not turned off.
“Kitchen fires can be prevented,” Elliott said. “Most simply by paying attention during the food preparation and cooking process and not allowing yourself to become distracted. Do not attempt to cook when you are sleepy.”
If a kitchen fire does occur, the fire marshal gave the following tips: have a minimum of a 2A-10BC rated fire extinguisher available and know how to use it; if fire is contained to a pot or skillet, simply cover it with a lid and turn off the gas/electric or any other fuel source; if a lid is not available then baking soda or salt can be thrown a fire, but in copious amounts. Do not use flour or baking powder. Always contact your local fire department to confirm your fire is out and has not extended in the wall, cabinets or attic spaces; If you do not have the resources or you are uncomfortable attempting to extinguish the fire, then do not attempt to fight it. Leave the house and confirm everyone in the house is out and call 9-1-1 for assistance. Never pour water on any grease fire, regardless of the size of the fire.
“Cooking is such a routine activity that it is easy to forget that the high temperatures used can easily start a fire,” Elliott said.
This year’s NFPA message bullet points are: “Please be conscious to keep a very close eye on what you are cooking; never leave cooking unattended. Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – at least three feet away from your stove. Always be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.”
On Fri., Oct. 30, members of MF-R will be participating in the city’s Trick-or-Treat drive-thru event. They will be handing out prepackaged bags and fire safety literature to attendees.
For additional tips, visit the MF-R Facebook page or visit nfpa.org.
By Karen Chaney • [email protected]