VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - October is Fire Prevention Month and this year’s theme is kitchen safety.
Valdosta Fire Department’s Chief Brian Boutwell says unattended cooking causes about 49 percent of house fires, nationwide.
For starters, Chief Boutwell reminds everyone to be careful in the kitchen. If you have something on the stove, don’t get distracted on your phone.
You may lose track of time, forgetting you have something cooking.
“We did see a trend this year with our number one calls of fires is kitchen fires. But we saw an increase almost double the amount during the months of March, April, and May which we know, due to the pandemic, that’s when most people were staying home,” said Chief Boutwell.
He tells me in Valdosta, kitchen fires make up 50 percent of the calls this year.
He encourages everyone to have smoke alarms.
“Smoke alarms save lives, early detection allows people to get out safely prior to fire department arrival. And as we approach the time of year where we change the clock, we remind everyone to change the batteries in their smoke alarms,” said Chief Boutwell.
Chief Boutwell tells me it’s also a good idea to have a small fire extinguisher in your home.
He says you don’t have to use the entire thing, just enough to put the fire out.
Also, you should still notify the fire department in the case of a fire.
Battalion Chief James Clinkscales demonstrated how to use one.
He says first you must make sure you have the right extinguisher for the right job.
An ABC extinguisher will work on flammables, liquids, and electrical.
“Pull the pin, aim the nozzle, approach it and squeeze,” said Clinkscales.
The pandemic has also affected their fire prevention awareness plans this year.
Most of the activities with students will be done virtually, including virtual reading and tours.