Maui Fire Personnel Offer Tips to Prevent Kitchen Fires

October 18, 2013, 9:06 AM HST · Updated October 18, 9:29 AM
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Maui Fire Prevention Week. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Fire Prevention Week. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety hosts the first of two demonstrations on Maui today as part of Fire Prevention Week.

The events are organized by department personnel to build awareness, share educational materials, and spread tips on fire safety.

Last year’s demonstrations attracted more than 600 children, along with their teachers and parents.

Maui firefighters. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui firefighters during a recent training exercise in Kahului. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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Today’s demonstration is open to the public as well as local elementary schools. It is scheduled to run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. today, Oct. 18, at the Horseshoe Pit Field at Keōpūolani Park in Central Maui.

A second demonstration is planned next week Thursday, Oct. 24, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lahaina Recreation Field behind the Lahaina Aquatics Center.

The events include a Fire Safety Presentation followed by a display of the tools and equipment the fire service uses.

Department personnel will also demonstrate rappelling techniques, cut up cars with the department’s “Jaws of Life” and put out fires with a live fire demonstration.

The department’s Air-1 helicopter, Sparky Dog and Smokey Bear will also make an appearance at the events.

Stove fire at S. Papa Avenue home in Kahului, August 2012. File photo by Wendy Osher.+

Stove fire at S. Papa Avenue home in Kahului, August 2012. File photo by Wendy Osher.

This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is to remind residents to “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”

Fire officials say most kitchen fires result from unattended cooking. Fire personnel will use the demonstration events to teaching local residents how to prevent kitchen fires from starting in the first place.

“Kitchen fires are still the number one reason for residential fires nationwide,” said Maui Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray in a department-issued press release.

“The impacts to families and homes are devastating, displacing them for long periods of time and destroying their memories. Injuries and even death are a result of these fires. There are simple solutions we can implement if we learn how,” he said.

“Often when we’re called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes,” said Kapono Stupplebeen, public education officer for the department.  “Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach folks in the community before they’ve suffered a damaging lesson,” he said.

Stove fire at S. Papa Avenue home in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.+

Stove fire at S. Papa Avenue home in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.+

Below are a list of safety tips provided by Maui fire officials to help prevent kitchen fires:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
  • If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
  • If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
  • When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
  • Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
  • Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.

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