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Fire prevention week kicks off this week

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Air Force Base Fire Department is joining forces with the National Fire Protection Agency, or NFPA, and thousands of other fire departments across North America to commemorate Fire Prevention Week.

Fire Prevention Week runs from Sunday through Oct. 14, and the theme this year is "Prevent cooking fires - watch what you heat."

The Buckley Fire Dept. is holding events throughout the week on the base.

-- Today there will be an open house at the fire department, Bldg. 801, with Sparky, the department's mascot, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

-- Wednesday there will be a display booth and handouts at the Base Exchange from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

-- Thursday there will be fire evacuation drills throughout the base and a fire truck display with Sparky, at 9:30 a.m. at the Child Development Center.

-- Friday there will be a display booth and handouts at the BX from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Statistics from the NFPA show that one out of every three house fires in the United States started in the kitchen and more than 100,000 fires a year are related to cooking.

"Often when we're called to a cooking-related fire, the residents tell us they only left the kitchen for a few minutes," said Mr. Brett Galeener, Buckley's assistant chief of fire prevention. "Sadly, that's all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. The bottom line is that there's really no safe period of time for the cook to step away from a hot stove."

Mr. Galeener provided a few tips for people to remember when they are cooking.

-- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food. If there is a need to leave the kitchen - turn it off. 

-- When simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home and use a timer. 

-- Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles, such as pot holders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging. 

-- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "child-free zone" of three feet around the stove. 

-- If there is a fire in the microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. If in doubt, get out of the home and call the fire department. 

-- Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan, while wearing the oven mitt. Turn off the burner and slide the pan off the burner. To keep the fire from restarting, do not remove the lid until it is completely cool. 

-- Never pour water on a grease fire. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department. 

-- If an oven fire starts, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department.

"A cooking fire can quickly turn deadly," said Mr. Galeener. "I have seen too many homes destroyed and people killed or injured by fires that could have been easily avoided. Please heed these simple safety rules. We, firefighters, would like to be in your kitchen, but only when you invite us for dinner!"
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