West Bloomfield Fire Marshal gives virtual fire safety lesson in the kitchen

With so many children learning from home due to COVID-19, that means more children may be in the kitchen cooking, and for West Bloomfield Township Fire Marshal Byron Turnquist, that’s a concern. 

“Every year we see a lot of fires in the kitchens, most of the fires that start in kitchens are due to unattended cooking,” he said. 

Older people are at higher risk but the fire marshal says it’s easy for anyone to get distracted. 

“Whether you take a phone call or start to answer a text message or you go back to the other room and watch a program on television, time flies and you can easily lose track of what’s left cooking on the stove,” he said.  

And that can lead to a grease fire, which is why you should always have the lid to your pan or a cookie sheet nearby. 

“Slid the lid for the pan on top of the pan and smother the fire. Turn the heat off, leave it there, call 911 and get out the house, let us come to make sure the fire’s out,” he said. 

Turnquist says it’s important to stay calm and never ever throw water on a grease fire. 

“Throwing water on it spreads the fire it does very little to put it out,” he said. 

Other helpful hints, make sure handles are not sticking out from the stovetop so children don’t pull them down and get burned. If there’s an oven fire never open the door, turn off the power and call 911. 

“Don’t open the oven door, opening the oven door lets the smoke and fire out of the oven, it’s important to keep the oven door closed.” 

Also, make sure you have working fire extinguishers that are easily accessible. The larger ones have more product inside to put out a fire. 

And make sure you have smoke alarms throughout the house. He says smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, outside of every sleeping area and inside of every bedroom.

That single beep is a reminder to change the batteries which should be done twice a year when the time changes in the fall and the spring. 

All these precautions in hopes of preventing fires and keeping everyone safe.