Thanksgiving safety from the Carson City Fire Department

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Welcome to the inaugural column of “Ask a Firefighter.” In the coming months, we hope to answer questions you might have about your Carson City Fire Department plus give you some ideas on how to keep your house and neighborhood fire safe.
Did you know that cooking fires are the leading cause of structure fires in the United States? And that Thanksgiving Day is the leading day of the year for cooking fires? One of the main reasons for cooking fires is unattended cooking. Thanksgiving is usually a busy day with lots of activities, many involving children and guests. It can be easy to leave the kitchen and lose track of things.
Firefighters live in the fire station for 24 hours at a time. This means that the firefighters on duty for Thanksgiving Day have Thanksgiving dinner at the fire station. You may be asking yourself, what happens to Thanksgiving dinner that’s cooking during the day when the firefighters have to go on an emergency call?
It would be really embarrassing if the firefighters had a fire at the fire station because they left food cooking while they were out on an emergency call. To prevent that, firefighters try to remember to turn off the stove when they leave the fire station but the fire stations also have a switch that turns off the stove whenever the radio dispatches the firefighters to an emergency. That way, no matter what, there won’t be a cooking fire.
While you don’t have an automatic switch to turn off the stove, you can take some precautions to ensure you have a safe Thanksgiving Day.
Some things you can do to avoid a cooking fire or burns are:
• Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
• Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
• Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, dogs, cats, or bags.
• Be sure electrical cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
• Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
• Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books can keep them busy. Kids can get involved in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be done outside the kitchen too. Take a minute during the day and look at the list above. Someone watching the stove? Floor clear of trip hazards? Kids occupied outside the kitchen?
If you do have a small cooking fire on the stovetop, you can turn off the burner and slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed until cool. If you have any doubt that the fire is too big for you to put out, just get out! Call 911 from outside the home and make sure everyone is accounted for. Don’t go back inside the house until the Fire Department says it is safe to do so.
Send your questions about the Carson City Fire Department or the fire service in general to
Until next month, have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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