Every October, Fire Prevention Week is observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which Oct. 9 falls.
That date is important, as it is the commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on Oct. 8, 1871. The Great Chicago Fire caused devastating damage to the city, killing more than 250 people, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless, destroying more than 17,400 structures and burning more than 200 acres of land. Most of the devastating damage happened on Oct. 9.
Fire Prevention Week remains the longest-running recognized week in North America, with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sponsoring it since 1922. Every year, the NFPA creates a campaign theme which is released and spread by fire departments across North America. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, which runs from Oct. 4 to 10, is Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.
Year after year, cooking remains the leading cause of residential fires across Ontario. We all own many electronics or gadgets that are continually distracting us, however, remaining present in the kitchen is one of the easiest ways to ensure things don’t get out of control. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Fire & Emergency Services, Community Risk Reduction Division will be ensuring this message is spread throughout our community during this year’s Fire Prevention Week. Citizens are encouraged to look for banners placed outside of Old Town, St. Davids, and Queenston fire stations. Look for posters at your local post office, school and community bulletin board. Be sure to follow the Niagara-on-the-Lake Fire & Emergency Services on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) to receive advice on ensuring you know what to do to remain safe in the kitchen.
As adults, most of us take the skill of cooking for granted, and begin to believe we can multi-task while doing it. How many people have put a pot on the stove and thought, I’ll just take out this garbage? Or maybe, I have a few minutes to change that load of laundry. How many people just sit down and get distracted by their cell phone or laptop? It is these distractions that lead to preventable fires in the kitchen. Remain present, keep combustible items off the stove top, turn handles inwards so little ones cannot grab them, and remember to have a lid on hand on the chance a fire does occur. If a fire does happen, carefully sliding the lid over a flaming pot is one of the easiest ways to cut off oxygen to a fire, helping to put it out. Remember to leave your house, get to your safe place and call 911.
If you have any questions about how to keep you and your family safe in the kitchen, please contact Niagara-
on-the-Lake Fire & Emergency Services, Community Risk Reduction.
Deputy Fire Chief,
Community Risk Reduction
The NOTLFES is writing a regular column with The Local related to all things fire. Expect to see articles related to fire safety, training, fire department initiatives or developments within the department. The NOTLFES understands our community, and recognizes one of the best ways to ensure we reach every member of the community is through using all media platforms available. Thank you for reading, and looking forward to the articles that we produce.