The Guelph Fire Department is trying some new ways to get fire safety messaging to kids now that it’s more challenging to get its messaging out face to face.
This week is Fire Prevention Week and the Guelph Fire Department is capping off the annual event with some interactive activities held virtually. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Serve up fire safety in the kitchen.’
“We are trying to find new ways of connecting with the community, given the limitations we have at the moment,” said Fire Chief Dave Elloway by phone on Thursday. “This is kind of a neat way of being able to do it.”
Traditionally the department would go to schools to teach fire safety or invite children to come to one of the fire stations with groups like Scouts or Girl Guides.
“We have a pandemic and assembling in person — the way we normally did things — is not doable for us,” said Elloway.
On Saturday the department will be hosting two Kahoot! quizzes for kids. Kahoot! is popular with many kids, and this quiz will allow them to test their fire safety knowledge.
You may need to download the Webex app to participate if it is not already installed on your computer.
The top three scoring participants will receive a fire safety awareness certificate signed by the fire chief.
Another Kahoot! quiz geared toward teenagers to seniors will be hosted until 6 p.m. on Oct. 10.
The Guelph Fire Department has responded to 70 cooking related incidents since January, including 27 fires that started in the kitchen. Unattended kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires in the province.
“Cooking happens in homes every day, and it has to be done responsibly to ensure it is done safely,” said Ken Tessier, fire prevention officer with Guelph Fire in a recent press release. “It is your responsibility to protect yourself and your family from fire. Always remain alert and stay in the kitchen while cooking.”
Often when attending a fire that started in the kitchen, said Tessier, the resident tells firefighters they left the room for only a few minutes.
“That’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start,” he said.
The department has also posted a video to YouTube with some kitchen fire safety tips.
The Guelph Fire Department recommends the following fire safety tips:
- Always stay in the kitchen when cooking and turn off the stove if you must leave the kitchen.
- Keep a proper fitting lid near the stove. If a pot of oil catches fire, slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove. Do not move the pot. Never throw water on a burning pot.
- Keep anything that burns—plastic, utensils, dishcloths, paper towels—a safe distance from the stove.
- Cook responsibly. To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You will not be alert if you have consumed alcohol or drugs.
- Wear tight-fitting or rolled up sleeves when using the stove. Loose, dangling clothing can easily catch fire.
- Keep young children one metre away from the stove. Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge so they can’t be easily knocked off.
- If you burn yourself while cooking, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes. If the burn is severe, seek medical attention.
- Test smoke/carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month by pushing the test button. Consider vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may need assistance maintaining and testing their alarms.
- Change the batteries once a year.
- Replace smoke/carbon monoxide alarms within the timeframe indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions or if they don’t sound when tested.
- Plan for your escape. Make your home escape plan and practice it today.
- Determine who’s going to help young children, older adults, people with disabilities or anyone else who needs help escaping.
- When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Go to your meeting place outside your home.
- Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.
Visit guelph.ca/fire for more fire safety information or to learn more about Fire Prevention Week visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at firepreventionweek.org.