Mayor Judy Sheets proclaimed Oct. 4 through Oct. 10 to be Fire Prevention Week in Frankfort during a Monday afternoon ceremony in the parking lot of Old Stoney. Members of the Frankfort Fire Department, including Chief John Kirby and Assistant Chief Ed Cripe, joined the Mayor beside FFD Engine No. 3 for the proclamation.
“Of course, we all know things are a little bit different right now with COVID and the restrictions we have,” Mayor Sheets said. “But I think it is so important that we get the message out to our citizens and particularly to the schools and that we still do something to recognize that it is Fire Prevention Week, and that our firefighters are still there to be able to give information out. So, that is part of the reason why I decided to do the proclamation. And, of course, I think I have the best fire department in the state, so I had to recognized them.”
“We have never had a proclamation for fire prevention week,” Chief Kirby said. “Every year, we take what we are going to do for Fire Prevention Week to the Board of Works and get it approved.”
The FFD usually goes to the schools during Fire Prevention Week, but the local firefighters had to adjust their plans this year.
“Usually, we reach over 3,000 kids a year during Fire Prevention Week,” Kirby said. “Unfortunately, through COVID, we are not able to get in the schools like we have in the past and actually congregate with the kids in different classes and talk to them about fire prevention. So, this year, we are doing it a little different. We had to be more creative to get the message out this year.
“This year, pre-K through 2nd grade, we are doing coloring contests,” Kirby continued. “The kids will be coloring different fire prevention slogans and pictures. Then our firefighters, next week, will pick the ones that they like, and we will give the winners a gift bag of some sort. For the older kids, we will pass out rubber bracelets. All of them have different fire prevention slogans on them. We plan on each school having a fire drill this week. Unfortunately, the middle school and high school are out this week on e-learning, but we still have the grade schools, so we will contact them and probably have a fire drill at some point of time this week.”
Kirby added that the mayor’s proclamation, which was shared on various social media channels, was another good way to get the message out to students, parents and citizens.
The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” According to the National Fire Protection Association, which has been the official sponsor of the week for more than 90 years, cooking is the leading cause of home fire and home fire injuries in the United States.
“Probably about 65 percent of fires are usually caused in the kitchen,” Kirby said. “So, it is a very important message to get out. That is one of the things that we always talk about. We do fire safety cooking classes with our fire inspector Kevin Catron and assistant chief Ed Cripe. We go to Clinton Central High School every year and talk to their Home (Economics) class about fire safety in the kitchen. We also try to get that message across to the younger kids. When we get invited into people’s home for senior safety visits, we really hit hard on cooking safety to our seniors when we get an opportunity to as well.”
Frankfort Fire Department is sharing the following safety tips to prevent cooking fires:
Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. 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 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 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
Kirby also agreed that it is a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
“Absolutely. If you can keep a two-and-a-half to five-pounder under your kitchen sink – somewhere away from the stove where you can get to it – we definitely recommend that, as well as always having a plan to get out of our house safely and making sure that you have working smoke detectors,” he said.
Since 2015, the FFD and teamed with the American Red Cross to get over 4,000 smoke detectors into Frankfort homes.
With the fall season settling in and much of the state experiencing drought or near-drought conditions, Kirby urged caution when enjoying time outdoors.
“Right now, in Clinton County, we don’t have a burn ban in the county,” Kirby said. “But, in the city you are not allowed to burn leaves or burn brush. You can have cooking fires as long as they are in a safe fire pit at least 25 feet away from any standing structure.
“We know at this time of the year people like to sit out around a campfire and roast marshmallows and have fun family time,” he added. “We encourage that but obviously you don’t want to do it on windy days, and you also want to have some sort of extinguisher near – maybe drag a hose from the house out and have it close by in case you need it. Don’t ever leave the fire unattended. And, obviously, if you ever need the fire department, don’t hesitate to call us. We will come and check it out for you.”