Firefighters urge cooking safety

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By Lee Levesque
What do you think is the number one cause of home fires in America today? Hint: It has been the leading cause of fires in our nation for more than a decade! Many people I have asked that question to have said smoking, heating, electrical, etc. But those are second, third, and fourth, respectively.
The National Fire Protection Agency has determined that the number one cause of fire in America today is COOKING.

Lee Levesque, the Public Information Officer of the Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire Department, presented Pam Rimer of Lady’s Island a $50 check for winning The Island News’ Safety First contest. Ms. Rimer surprised a grateful Levesque by then signing the check over to the fire department as a gift. This week, there are advertisers inside the paper that support an important safety message. Find all those participating by looking for the Safety First logo (it could be color or black and white), then list them in an email to williambuckboone@gmail.com. You will be entered into a drawing where the winner will receive a $50 prize!

So, why would firefighters want to talk about cooking safety in November? We are entering what is recognized as “The Holiday Season,” but to those of us in safety fields we call it “Cooking Season.”
So while you whip up your family’s favorite treats in the coming months, we ask you take just a moment to consider the following:
• Unattended cooking is by far the leading contributing factor in home fires. Always pay attention to cooking and never walk away.
• 66% of cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Keep a pan lid close and a fire extinguisher closer.
• Ranges accounted for the largest share (58%) of home cooking fire incidents. Regardless of how you are cooking, keep safety in mind.
• Frying poses the greatest risk of fire. Fryers should be used at least 50 feet from any structure and NOT on porches.
• Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.
Protect yourself and don’t become a statistic.
Please take a few moments each day during this season to consider safety for you and those you love. Those moments could prevent hours, days, or even lifetimes of recovery if the unexpected were to occur.
As always, please feel free to contact your local fire station for all of your safety questions and concerns or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Beaufort County (SC) Fire Chief’s Safety Education Team (S.E.T.).