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A message from the WF Fire Department

The West Fargo Fire Department, seen Friday, July 20, 2018, recently completed renovations for new sleeping quarters in its upper level. Erin Bormett / The Forum

With the start of the New Year, the West Fargo Fire Department will be writing a monthly article related to fire safety.

Fire safety's main goal is practicing good habits that would prevent a fire.

Fire safety in our community is a vital component of our fire department mission.

Utilizing public education we would prefer to prevent a fire from occurring.

In the circle of fire related issues, there is nothing more important as preventing than fire from


Throughout the years, I have seen how devastating a fire can be on a family or business.

Fire can destroy not only your home and personal belongings, but also can cause irreversible burn injuries or even worse death.

In the upcoming months, we will address topics you might expect regarding fire safety ranging from smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, cooking and heating equipment.

This month we will discuss fire safety in your kitchen.

Although we are coming out of our holiday season, cooking related fires are still considered the number one cause of home fires.

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), statistics below show the leading cause of fires are related to unattended cooking.

The West Fargo Fire Department responded to 24 cooking related fires in 2018.

Cooking fires by the numbers: (Based on 2012-2016 annual averages)

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 48% of home fires that resulted in 21 percent of the home fire deaths and 45 percent of the injuries.

Two-thirds, or 66 percent of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

Clothing is the item first ignited in less than 1 percent of these fires, but clothing ignitions lead to 15 percent of the home cooking equipment fire deaths.

Ranges or cooktops account for almost two-thirds or 63 percent of home cooking fire incidents.

Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third or 32 percent of reported home cooking fires and half 45 percent of the associated deaths.

Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

The majority of the West Fargo fires occurred because of unattended cooking.

We tend to get distracted with day to day activities; children, television, cell phones, etc., that may take our attention away from our main focus of cooking.

Here are a few safety tips to follow:

- Please stay close to food on the stove or in the oven.

- Keep children away from cooking area; turn handles in to avoid children or pets from tipping

them off the stove top.

- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing that can start on fire if come in contact with stove top

- Avoid cooking and taking medication that may make you tired or fall asleep.

- Set a timer as a reminder that the cooktop or oven is on.

- Do not put water on a grease fire.

- In case of a grease fire "cover" the pan, always have a fire extinguisher on hand and please call 911 and have everyone outside.

We hope this information is helpful and will aid in preventing a future fire or worse yet, injury or death.