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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fire Safe Cooking Holiday Season

This week, on Thursday, is Thanksgiving Day with the holiday cooking starting across the country as well as marking the start to the holiday season. It is also a time to be reminded and encourage while cooking to take extra precautions and fire safety measures to prevent any kitchen fires from starting. It is hope that this Thanksgiving will be as safe as it was last year.

Fire statistics show that firefighters have responded to a number of kitchen fires each Holiday Season in years past. It is often the case that while the holiday meal is being put together the cook’s attention is diverted from the cooking thus raising the risk of a fire to start. The extra people in the home while the holiday meal is cooking can add to the confusion with the chance of the cook leaving something on the stove too long. The next thing you know, you have a kitchen fire.


Turkey Fryers are often the source of cooking-related fires when they are used to prepare a holiday season meal. From YouTube® here’s a very important example of what could happen if a turkey fryer is used improperly:

U.S. fire departments are responding to more than 1,000 fires each year when a deep fryer is involved. The National Fire Association says deep fryers fires can result in more than $15 million in property damage each year and hot oil splatter can cause serious burns to an adult or life-threatening to a child.

Using turkey fryers this year to cook a turkey you most take several fire safety steps to insure their safety. Always use the turkey fryer outside and NOT in the garage or house. Make sure the turkey is completely defrosted and dried off before putting in the hot oil. Forgetting to simply drying off the turkey will result in the stating of hot oil splashing and then things begin to catch fire. The BIGGEST DANGER when using the turkey deep-fryer is when it’s not thawed or dried correctly, which can cause the grease or hot oil to splash or thaw. The YouTube® Turkey Fryer Fire Demonstration, presented by William Shatner & State Farm® demonstrated and showed the result of not following proper, very simple, fire safety precautions.

A full charged fire extinguisher should be kept near the door of the kitchen as well as near where you are using the turkey fryer outside. The fire extinguisher is to be used to fight small fires, when they are just started, and one should always escape from the fire area if the fire gets out of had where it cannot be put out with portable fire extinguish. When there is a fire, don’t hesitate to call 911, and call before fighting the fire or have someone call when you are using the fire extinguisher.

As the popularity of turkey fryers increase, more people are at risk for injury or property damage as information from State Farms Insurance states.

Fire Safety does not stop just because it’s the holiday season, and we need to keep this in mind as we celebrating. Remember that one of the leading causes of home fires is unattended cooking. When you are cooking, stay in the kitchen, stay with that turkey fryer. If you have to leave, for whatever reason, make sure you turn the appliance off. If there’s a pot on the stove, move it from one heat element after turning element off to another cooler element. If you ever have a pot of grease or hot oil catch fire, cover it with a lid, turn off the switch to it, and NEVER NEVER put a grease/hot oil fire with water as that will result only making a bad fire into a worse fire.

A little extra attention during the hectic holiday season goes a long way to keeping family and guests fire safe.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Prevent Space Heaters Making A Spark This Winter

With colder winter months ahead and temperatures already turning cooler the need to supplement extra heat with the use of space heaters will be on the raise. During winter there are more fires caused by heating devices when precautions and safe guards are not in use or observed.

Already for the month of November there have been serious damaging fires that have happened most probably due to electrical space heaters. When there are these types of fire there’s reason to speculate that fire safety and fire prevention practices were lacking

Here are fires that happen so far, with suspected space heater as a cause for this month with no real digging for on the internet…

November 2: White Plains, New York — A fire killed 16 dogs, including puppies in a suburban breeder’s backyard kennel, which an inspector later said was illegal. the cause of the fire may have been a heat lamp or space heater….16 dogs die in fire at NY kennel that inspector says was illegal; space heater eyed as cause

November 4, 2011: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Fire Official: Space Heater To Blame For Blaze. A space heater is believed to have caused a house fire in southeast Oklahoma City, fire officials said.

November 4, 2011: St. Louis, Missouri Space heater to blame in St. Louis house fire…after a space heater caught fire in the room…

November 11, 2011: Atlanta, Georgia House burns after Atlanta space heater fire…after a space heater was left on…and didn’t think twice about leaving a small space heater on top of a bedroom dresser…

November 11, 2011: Summit, Arkansas A electric heater appeared to be the cause of a fire that destroyed a home Friday in Summit, fire officials said. …The fire appeared to have started from an electrical space heater in the front bedroom…The four-bedroom is a total loss…

November 12, 2011: Volney, New York – An apartment building blazeSpace heater suspected cause in fire… believed that the fire was caused by a space heater plugged in to an extension cord in the middle of the building in one of the downstairs apartments.

At the Volney, New York fire this past weekend, firefighters say a space heater likely touched off the massive fire. It took more than two hours to put out and has left several people homeless. The following YouTube® shows a news report of the actual fire response and scene…

Also, At the Volney, New York fire, one volunteer firefighter was reported being startled when a wall collapsed on him, luckily he wasn’t physically injured but was “a little dazed.” Another volunteer firefighter was slightly injured after falling five feet off a ladder. “Scene Safety” becomes paramount to the firefighter when on the fire ground but can be easily overlooked combating the fire but shouldn’t.

If you must use a space heater for heat, use it as safely as possible.

• When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).

• Keep the heater three feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.

• Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.

• Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.

• Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.

• Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.

• Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Soda Fountain CO2 Leak Harmful to Responders…

Carbon dioxide that travels through piping to soda fountains in places such as popular fast food restaurants can be deadly if leaking occurs or if there’s an improperly connected carbon dioxide line to the soda machine. Leaking of carbon dioxide in a large amount will and have resulted in hazmat incidents.

Carbon dioxide is used in soda fountains to make the water “carbonated” with bubbles before it is blended with flavored syrup, such as that from Coke or Pepsi.

According to material safety data sheet on the gas, carbon dioxide in high concentration can quickly crowd out the oxygen in the air, leading to dizziness, unconsciousness and, sometimes death.

Some facts about CO2:

  • Typically found in a gaseous state
  • Colorless, Odorless, Tasteless
  • Pressurized into liquid state
  • DOT Placard: Green, category 2, non-flammable
  • NFPA 704 Marking System: 3 Health, 0 Fire, 0 Reactivity, 0 Special Hazard
  • Expansion ratio nearly 3000 to 1
  • Displaces O2, asphyxiant
  • Cryogenic

The Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department developed and has sent out via YouTube® for all emergency responders to view a “lesson learned” of a very important safety alert. The following YouTube® is to warn Firefighters, EMT’s, and Emergency Responders when responding about a new hazard of the job: Liquefied CO2 systems that are being used in fast food restaurants, convenience stories, and all other businesses…

This is a case study on what appeared to be a routine medical incident but involved CO2 exposure and a near miss.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving is peak day for home cooking fires

NFPA urges caution when preparing holiday meals

November 9, 2011 – The number of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day was three times the national average of fires per day in 2009, according the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.) NFPA is urging the public to keep fire safety in mind when preparing holiday meals.

“Thanksgiving can be a whirlwind of cooking and entertaining guests,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “With so much multitasking taking place, fire hazards around the oven or stovetop can easily be overlooked. Cooks should be conscious of fire safety this Thanksgiving whether the menu is meant to serve two or 20.”

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and related injuries. In 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 155,400 home fires per year involving cooking equipment. These fires caused an annual average of 390 civilian deaths, 4,800 civilian injuries, and $771 million in direct property damage.

Thanksgiving safety tips
Download NFPA's Thanksgiving safety tips. (PDF, 868 KB)
To reduce the risk of cooking fires this holiday, NFPA recommends the following safety tips:
  1. Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop.
  2. Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  3. When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  4. Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire…

  1. Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  2. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  3. If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path (to your way out of the home and someone has called the fire department).
  4. Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  5. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nov. 9 Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS)

FEMA and the FCC will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at 2 pm eastern time on Nov. 9; the alert will be transmitted throughout the country and will be monitored by EAS participants. After it has been completed, EAS participants will report to the FCC on the results. Although the nationwide test may resemble the periodic monthly EAS tests most consumers are familiar with, consumers may see or hear some differences.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

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