Area firefighters are always making an effort through outreach programs to educate Rim Country residents about fire safety.
But an extra effort was made last week by the Hellsgate Fire Department with an open house and a variety of demonstrations because October is National Fire Prevention Month. Thank the historic Chicago Fire of Oct. 8-10, 1871 for that fact.
The primary themes were kitchen fires and car fires, but participants also were invited to get a close look at fire engines and rescue helicopters.
The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. According to the American Red Cross, 65 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.
During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
• If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
• Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
• Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
• Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in your home.
• Unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires.
To be more prepared to deal with kitchen fires, the Red Cross recommends:
Never leave cooking unattended.
Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
Keep kids away from cooking area by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove.
Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove top, oven or any other appliance that generates heat.
Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
Consider having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and take lessons on how to use it.
Always check the kitchen before going to bed to make sure everything is turned off.
If you are using wood to heat this winter, make sure you keep the woodpile away from your home. Should there be a fire, it would be additional fuel for the flames. Plus, any number of wild animals, rodents and insects can make the woodpile a nest during cold weather.