Fire Prevention Week was October 6th -12th and we here at the Pickens Fire Department joined forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in reminding local residents to ‘Prevent Kitchen Fires.’ During this year’s fire safety campaign, we are spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires, most of which result from unattended cooking, and teaching local residents how to prevent kitchen fires from starting in the first place.
According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.
Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates are emphasizing:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
- If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
- When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
- Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
The Pickens Fire Department has taken its campaign to local elementary schools to demonstrate fire prevention and how to respond to a fire inside a residence. The new demonstration smoke trailer purchased by the Pickens County Fire Chief’s Association was utilized to give a true experience.
With the arrival of the Department’s Fire Extinguisher Training System last year, we have been able to demonstrate and practice properly using a fire extinguisher with over 900 citizens.
As we approach the time to change our clocks back we remind you to check/replace the batteries in your smoke detector.
With Fall in the air, leaves are falling from the trees and many choose to burn the leaves to clean-up. We remind you to practice Fire Safety and obey South Carolina State Law in reference to outdoor burning. Prior to outdoor burning of yard debris, the SC Forestry Commission must be notified through the automated number of 1-800-517-9637. Also, those responsible for burning must stay with the fire until it is completely extinguished. A fire break should be established around the area that is planned to be burned and an adequate water source must be available. Remember, you are responsible for your fire.
Also as the calendar year is quickly coming to an end, many have received their tax notices and have noticed a fee assessed for fire protection. This fee was approved by City Council for residence and business inside the City Limits starting this year. While every possible option was explored, this fee was necessary in order to maintain a Fire Department inside the City of Pickens. The City of Pickens Fire Department has been working in conjunction with Pickens County for years providing fire protection outside the City Limits; however it has been decided by Pickens Rural Fire Board and Shady Grove Fire Board to not renew the contracts. This has left the City of Pickens Fire Department without $500,000+ in funding. The option was explored for the City of Pickens to contract with Pickens County for fire protection, but the fee was slated to be the exact same whether operated by the City or County. With City Councils decision, the Fire Department that was established in 1933 will be able to continue operating and providing quality fire protection the citizens have come to expect.
We have been working hard to prepare for this transition and are looking forward to being able to provide more focused services to the City of Pickens residences and businesses. We recently had a light remodel of the fire station including new flooring, paint and kitchen upgrades. Our trucks have been repurposed to provide the most functional operations and increase the longevity of service years. All firefighter gear is less than 3 years old and all air packs have been updated to the current standards.
Since I have taken over as Chief on May 1 2013, the support demonstrated by the firefighters and community has been overwhelming. I want to assure our citizens that you have a dedicated group of 36 highly trained firefighters willing to serve their community. Our equipment is ready for the task at hand, and plans are made to maintain the state of our fire department for years to come.
The mission of the City of Pickens Fire Department is to serve and educate our citizens and community on fire prevention and fire protection. As residents of this City we encourage you to contact your City Fire if you have a need to see how we may be able to help. Our services dedicated to those that live and travel through our City are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year thanks to City Council’s decision to maintain a City operated Fire Department.
Your Fire Chief,