(The KME Rescue Pump at Stittsville’s Station 81 fire station.)
Tom Miller is the Sector Chief for District 8 at Ottawa Fire Station 81 here in Stittsville. He has been with Station 81 for over two years. In a conversation with Stittsville Central he shares precautions and advice to avoid a fire over the holiday season. Tom told us, “the majority of fires at this time of year are kitchen fires due to unattended cooking.”
Tom shares that kitchen and oven fires are frequently the cause of fires at this time of year. He emphasized that grease fires are also caused by kitchen overhead fans, “grease is a source for fire, and a greasy overhead fan only adds to the fuel load of a fire”. “It takes no time for a stovetop, oven or overhead fan fire to spread to your cabinetry and eventually spread throughout the room and your home.”
Tom provides some sage advice and actions you can take to prevent a fire in your home.
Outdoor and indoor lighting:
- don’t overload your hydro system
- ensure there are no frayed wires on strings of lights and that when reusing, they are in good working order
- ensure that your outdoor lights are in balance with your power supply
Christmas trees – trees are the most volatile and the spread of a fire happens quickly:
- Make sure your real Christmas trees are adequately watered as air in the home from heating dries them out faster – recommended to water daily
- Ensure no strings of lights have frayed wires before placing on your tree – that they are in good working order
- DO NOT leave anything unattended on the stovetop when cooking (kitchen fires – in particular grease fires) spread quickly from the stove to the cabinetry above
- Keep your overhead fan clean – wash the filters with warm soapy water to prevent grease build-up
- Should you have an oven fire – DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR – KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED. Ovens are airtight and with the door closed, it provides a barrier for oxygen to enter. Oxygen increases the size of a fire
- Call 911 when an oven fire occurs – even if you think it is extinguished
Candles – candle fires are the cause of a high percentage of fires in the home:
- Place candles away from combustibles (curtains and paper)
- Ensure a candle is in a sturdy holder that is not likely to tip or be tipped over
- NEVER leave a candle unattended. Always extinguish candles when not in the same room or when retiring for the night
- Keep candles away from the tails of your pets
District Chief Miller also stressed that residents must have a working smoke detector. He said, “check your batteries monthly and change them twice a year.”
He also wanted to share that during the winter months there is an increased chance of an ice storm during which the power goes out. He reminds people to turn off all appliances, as when the power returns a ‘power surge’ could take place damaging your electronics.
Watch for more safety initiatives coming in 2022 in the form of signage installed on fire tankers. Six different public awareness signs will be added to the trucks.
Remember, the volunteer firefighters working at Station 81 are also your neighbours – they work in the community in which they live.
(Editor’s Note – we want to especially thank Josh ‘Adam’ (formerly known as Lt. Josh Gibeault) who always ensures we are informed of the events taking place with Ottawa Fire at Station #81.)