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Chief lights up Senior Center with fire talk

October 20, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
A large group of seniors showed up at the Austintown Senior Center on Oct. 12 for a fire safety program. For attending the event, each received a new smoke detector from fire Chief Andy frost.

The half-hour program coincided with National Fire Safety Week. Frost addressed those present, focusing on one of Austintown’s most common blazes -- kitchen fires.

He said one of the worst kitchen fires he has experienced in his years with the Austintown Fire Department was a lady who was cooking when the grease in the pan flared up. He said her first response was to grab the pan and rush it outside.

“On her way out she set fire to the drapes, the walls and herself,” Frost said.

He told those present that a pan fire like that is dangerous. Because grease is a liquid, if the pan is picked up, it will splash out and ignite other areas of the house. He said the only way to stop a fire like that is to take away the No. 1 ingredient a grease fire needs -- oxygen. One way to make that happen would be to put a lid on the pan to smother it. Another way is to keep a wet towel around that could be thrown over the pan to suffocate the fire.

Frost said it never hurts to have a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen to handle a cooking fire. He said small one can be purchased at some stores for under $20. He also presented a way to make a small cheaper fire extinguisher. Prior to the meeting at the center, Frost stopped off at a dollar store and purchased a ketchup and mustard dispenser set. He said by cutting the tip back to make the opening a little larger, the dispensers could be filled with baking soda and used to put out the grease fire.

“Just a ketchup bottle and a box of baking soda and you have a fire extinguisher for less than two bucks,” Frost said.

Frost also touched on chimney fires, saying it is very important to have a fireplace cleaned and inspected annually if it is used for wood burning. He said a better route is to install a sealed gas log fireplace, which vents outside and poses no threat inside a sealed home in the winter.

Frost also touched on space heaters and overloading electric outlets.

Following the program, seniors present at the event were able to obtain a free smoke detector.

Those attending also got handouts covering the topics Frost spoke on as well as other fire safety tips.

Article Photos

Austintown fire Chief Andy Frost shows a group of seniors at the Austintown Senior Center a way to make a homemade fire extinguisher during a fire safety program on Oct. 12.



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