By Michael Campbell
With school recently starting, the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Prevention staff wants to remind parents about some important fire safety issues to keep everyone safe.
Many families may still be in summer vacation mode, with eating, playing and sleeping. As parents, we try to get the kids geared up to focus on studies. As the Fire Prevention staff we want to assist parents in educating children on fire safety.
Many older kids, if not already cooking at home, may want to start cooking. The most important thing to teach the children is never leave the cooking area unattended. Here are some other reminders:
— When cooking, leave phone and media devises out of eye site as not to avert attention from the cooking.
— Ensure anything that can catch fire is not located near the hot burners — paper plates, towels or even the oven mitts.
— Limit, or even better, don’t allow the frying of food to be done on the stove top.
— If using microwaves, don’t use any metal objects inside the microwave — that includes tin foil products and metal or even plastic utensils. Ensure cook ware is microwave safe.
— When removing food from the microwave, the food will be very hot so use caution.
— When finished cooking, double check to ensure all the appliances are off before leaving the kitchen.
— Remind the kids of your evacuation plan and an area to meet up in the event of a fire. If you haven’t made a plan this would be the ideal time to put one together. The what, where and how are very important.
— What to do in the event of an emergency? Call 911 as fast as possible. If calling from a cellphone make sure you tell the dispatcher that you live on Fort Leonard Wood.
— Where do you want the children to go when an emergency happens? Account for all in the house. If there’s bad weather, have a plan B. Make sure if they go to a neighbor’s house that information is passed on to the dispatcher.
Away from home
For those who have college-age children who may be leaving home for the first time. Much like the military members living in our barracks and dorms on post, there are things parents need to ask:
— What is the fire prevention plan for the resident?
— Are the smoke alarms in working order? Are the residents required to test them monthly?
— What are the two exit routes the student needs to follow?
— Is cooking allowed in room? If so what are the safety items provided to eliminate any cooking fires?
— Are open flames (candles) authorized?
— How often is the evacuation plan practiced?
— Ensure all roommates keep each other informed of their whereabouts for accountability in the event of an emergency.
— What is the policy for hallway clearance? These are required to allow them to exit quickly and blocking them could slow that down.
— Clean out dryer lint traps after each use.
— If the alarms activate leave quickly.
Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6 through 12. This year’s theme is “Not every hero wears a cape. PLAN and PRACTICE your ESCAPE!”
For more information on fire prevention and safety topics, call the Fire Prevention Section at 573.596.0886.
(Editor’s note: Campbell is a Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department fire inspector.)