La Crosse Fire Prevention Week focuses on kitchen safety

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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The phrase ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen' doesn’t apply to cooking fires.

One fire department is using National Fire Prevention Week to educate the community on kitchen safety.

A fire at a La Crosse house Sunday afternoon displaced two people and four pets.

The fire was blamed on electric wiring in the attic overheating.

La Crosse firefighters responded to the incident during a notable time for the department.

“Fire Prevention Week has been around for almost 100 years now and it’s the biggest time of the year for us to educate the public on being fire safe,” said Pat Corran, the La Crosse Fire Department community risk educator.

The fire department reminds the community to have a good exit plan with at least two exits from each room.

It also recommends buying appliances that have been tested and running space heaters and extension cords correctly.

“[Check] smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors-- you have a greater than 50 percent chance of surviving a fire if you have working smoke alarms in your home,” Corran added. “We work in conjunction with our partners here at the Red Cross and they have a great smoke alarm installation program.”

The Red Cross offers free smoke detectors to those in need.

This year the La Crosse Fire Department’s Prevention Week is themed ‘Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.'

La Crosse Fire Department Community Risk Educator Pat Corran says the city is on par with national data for kitchen incidents.

“Kitchen fires are the leading cause of fires in the home and fire-related injuries and we see that pretty consistently throughout the year,” Corran explained.

That’s why the department put on a grease fire demonstration Monday afternoon.

While many associate extinguishing a fire with using water, the fire department says when it comes to grease fires-- it’s important not to use any.

“The absolute last thing you want to do when you have a grease fire is put water on it,” said Corran. “Water super-heats and turns into vapor and carries those molecules of gas with it and so you see a giant fire ball come out of that.”

Instead, cover the pot with the lid or a cookie sheet, turn off the heat and walk away.

Firefighters say not to move the pot as anything the oil touches can start on fire or cause second and third degree burns.

“People think it won’t happen to them,” said Corran. “They think they’ve taken the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe.”

It’s important to remain calm during an incident and always call 911 if help is needed.

To avoid fires, be attentive when cooking.

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