Safety a top priority when it comes to kitchen fires

25 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Victor A. Barrera

Since January 2009 to February 2010, there have been 13 unattended cooking fires in Camp Lejeune, four of which have already happened this year.

The number of fires that have occurred this year is neither higher nor lower than last year but the amount of damage is slowly adding up. The amount of damage done to the properties in 2009 reached an estimated $22,000. That money could have gone to buying a family vehicle, paying for college, or leasing a home.

All of the damage is not going unnoticed. Both the Camp Lejeune Fire Department and Atlantic Marine Corps Communities are working to combat the flames that endanger service members and their families.

“All fires are serious,” said Glenn Zurek, the assistant chief of fire prevention. “It is our job to prevent fires through education and engineering.”

The organizations have their own way of tackling the hazard, but in the end they both share the same goal, promoting fire safety.

AMCC made a seven-minute video that residents are encouraged to watch regarding safety information, said Dixie Lanier, the strategic marketing manager for AMCC.

Topics included the PASS acronym and safety hazards. Safety hazards include leaving pots and pans with their handles facing outwards and leaving food unattended while it is still cooking.

The PASS acronym refers to the proper method for using fire extinguishers. PASS stands for, pull the pin, aim at the base of the flames, squeeze trigger and sweep extinguisher from side to side to cover the area of the fire.

However, just because the technique is known to service members it does not mean that they should try and extinguish every fire that occurs.

If a service member or their family feels that they would be in harm’s way by trying to fight a fire, the best option would be to call 911, evacuate the house and let the fire department handle the situation, said Zurek.

Another thing the video goes over is community and residential hazards such as cooking, evacuation routes, the importance of fire drills, fire escape ladders and the use of the PASS acronym, said Lanier.

Safety measures are currently being implemented on the homes that are now built on Camp Lejeune, such as sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

In addition, home owners are taught how to check their fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

All of this is done to protect the Marine Corps’ most valuable asset, the Marines and their families. Both AMCC and the fire department are working together to ensure that every family is well prepared and protected from any dangers they may face.