Editorial: A thank you to our fire department

If an SUV collides with a deer on a highway outside Morinville, they are there to get the collision victims out of the wrecked vehicles so the paramedics can get them en route to the hospital. A meatloaf catches fire in the oven, setting off the alarms. Within minutes they are there to douse the burned dinner and to reassure a shaken homeowner in the late afternoon.

They are the members of the Morinville Fire Department. They, together with their counterparts in Sturgeon County, Legal, and other communities give their time and their compassion to, as has been said before, rush in as others are rushing out.

Local firefighters typically spend time in schools and the community this week offering their knowledge during Fire Prevention Week, an annual awareness week that lets them remind us of what we need to do to prevent seeing them in full gear. That is less likely this year for obvious reasons, but it doesn’t stop them from promoting Fire Safety.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.

In short, this year’s campaign works to educate people that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in Canada. The Fire Prevention Week website notes that “the majority of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Most home fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.”

firepreventionweek.org offers the following advice:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are 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’re cooking.
  • You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or have consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 1 metre around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
Fire Prevention Week is an opportunity for us all to learn a bit about fire prevention, change the batteries in those smoke detectors, and to thank our firefighters for their commitment and volunteerism to saving lives and property.

If there are but two words they can take away from this brief editorial, they are Thank You.

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