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Kitchen fires are focus of Farmington Fire Department prevention efforts

Kitchen fires — or, more accurately, cooking fires — are the number one cause for structure fires around the United States. In Farmington, kitchen fires have accounted for 17 structure fires over the past seven years.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12. While it is a national observance, the Farmington Fire Department will do its own work to bring the week’s theme, Prevent Kitchen Fires, to the community.

“Cooking is the number one cause for fires, so that’s why we’re targeting that as our theme this year,” Farmington fire marshal John Powers said.

The Farmington Fire Department will use Fire Prevention Week as a time to educate the public on how to be safe in the kitchen and avoid accidents that can lead to cooking fires.

Farmington firefighters will visit elementary schools next week and talk with fourth graders about how they can prevent fires in their homes. They will bring in a video for students to watch, then talk about the importance of having a fire escape plan and making sure the batteries in smoke detectors are fresh and working.

An open house is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at Farmington fire station 2. The event gives firefighters an opportunity to share information and do a few demonstrations for the community.

“We’ll have fire extinguisher training, we’ll do a mock car crash with North Memorial air (helicopter) coming, and we’ll have a kitchen fire trailer demonstration,” Powers said. “And there will be some prizes, too.”

Several community groups will have tables set up in the fire department to share safety-related information. The Farmington Police Department’s K-9 unit will also stop by. New this year, Powers added, is the addition of Hennepin County Medical Center’s burn prevention display.

“We’re trying to educate the kids in the schools and the community about total safety and prevention of fire or injury,” Powers said. “Public education is probably the key to any sort of prevention and avoidance of accidents or fires. It keeps the community safer if they’re more aware. Prevention is part of our core mission at the fire department, even though it’s hard to measure how many fires we prevent.”

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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