Fort McCoy News September 27, 2013

Fire Prevention Week activities set for Oct. 6-12

In observance of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department will host several events and focus on educating the installation community about preventing fires.

The 2013 theme is "Prevent Kitchen Fires."

Curt Ladwig, fire prevention inspector with the Fort McCoy Fire Department, said unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen.

"Never leave cooking unattended, not even for a few seconds," he said.

Fire Prevention Week logo

Always have a lid nearby to place on the burning pan, and, if you should encounter a fire on the stove, Ladwig recommends these simple steps: 1) turn off the burner to shut off the heat source, 2) cautiously place the lid over the burning pan to smother the flames, and once in place never remove until the fire is completely out.

Ladwig also said that water should never be used to extinguisher a fire on the stove. "This will only make the problem worse."

Other precautions in the kitchen include, never wearing loose clothing while cooking and always turning pot/pan handles away when they are on the stove.

In 2012, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,400 home structure fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments. These fires caused 420 deaths, 5,310 injuries and $993 million in direct property damage, he said.

Other kitchen fire facts Ladwig provided include:
Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in kitchen fires.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1 percent of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 16 percent of the cooking fire deaths.

Ranges accounted for the largest share (58 percent) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16 percent.
Three of every five (57 percent) reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.

"Fires never take a holiday. They happen 24/7 without warning, and everyone needs to be prepared," he said.

Fire Prevention week will kick off early at Fort McCoy with an inaugural Fire Department Fun Day Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Post's Patriot Park, adjacent to the Community Center, 6158 H. Circle. The free event is open to the entire Fort McCoy community.

Event activities include fire department equipment displays, fire-extinguisher training and safety checks, a Fort McCoy Outdoor Recreation display, and games offered by the Fort McCoy Child, Youth & School Services program.

A MedLink Air Helicopter will be on display at approximately noon.

A complimentary lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or while supplies last.

Ladwig said the Fire Department moved the event to the South Post Family Housing Area so more Families could participate.

"It's important for everyone to receive fire-prevention education," Ladwig said. "Every day people are doing things they shouldn't."

The event will be held annually at South Post if this year's event is successful, Ladwig said.

Fire Prevention Week activities also allow the Fire Department to be spotlighted in the community as an organization that not only puts out fires but educates the community on what they can do to prevent fires, he said.

Daily activities during the week include information booths at the Exchange, building 1538, and McCoy's Community Club, building 1571, and fire evacuation drills.

Fire Department personnel will conduct a safety campaign at South Post Family Housing Area Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. Fire safety information will be handed out and residents will have an opportunity to speak with the firefighters and get an up-close look at the fire truck.

Additionally, Fire Department personnel will read to the Child Development Center youth and host a visit for the youth at the Fire Station.

For more information about fire safety or Fire Prevention Week activities, call Ladwig at 608-388-4077.