Accidents happen, but many times accidents can be avoided with safety precautions. At the Westminster Fire Department, it is our goal to promote safety education to help our citizens avoid many of these preventable accidents.

Westminster proclaims october as fire prevention month

Every October, the Westminster Fire Department commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 by proclaiming October as Fire Prevention Month. This historic two-day blaze killed more than 250 people and left over 100,000 people homeless. This October, Westminster Fire Department is encouraging residents to "Serve Up Fire Safety In The Kitchen", which aims to  educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe. This year, Westminster Fire is serving up a social media selfie party fire safety throughout the home. We are asking families to post a selfie with Flat Sparky and post it to the Westminster Fire Facebook Page with the hashtag #WestyFDFlatSparky. By posting the selfie with Flat Sparky, citizens can win some great prizes. Please see our Fire Prevention Month Announcement and Facebook page for more details. 

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Today's home fires burn faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. These are some safety tips to help keep citizens safe and prevent a cooking fire.

Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. 

Safety reminder on fridge

To decrease the risk of fire, look for places that home fires could start and minimize those risks. Some ways this can be done is by keeping cooking areas clear of clutter, keep anything that can easily ignite and burn away from heat sources, and make sure that electrical outlets are not overloaded. Also, if  the smoke alarm begins to sound, take that alarm very seriously and prepare for what to do if the smoke alarm sounds. Westminster Fire recommends creating a home escape plan with all members of the household and practice it together twice per year and planning with different fire scenarios. Use this home escape planning grid to map out a floor plan of your home. Be sure to include the location of all smoke alarms; two exits from every room; a path from each exit to the outside; and an outdoor meeting place where everyone will meet upon exiting. If there are members of your household who need assistance to escape a fire situation, make sure your home escape plans account for their needs. 

If you need any assistance or have questions about your home escape plan, please call us at 303-658-4500. 

Fire And Life Safety Tips

Cooking Safety Facts and Tips

Cooking and cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries. 

  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials
  • Unattended equipment was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires
  • Frying foods is the primary cooking fire ignition problem
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires 

Smoking Safety Facts and Tips

Smoking is the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths in the United States. The risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking increases with age and most smoking-related deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms, or bedrooms.

The NFPA also warns of the risk of using electronic cigarettes. Fires have occurred while e-cigarettes were being used, the battery was being charged, or the device was being transported. The leading cause for these reported fires have been due to battery failures that have led to small explosions. Never leave charging e-cigarettes unattended. 

To reduce the risk of smoking-related structure fire, these tips are suggested by the Westminster Fire Department and the NFPA:

  • Use a deep, sturdy ashtray and place it away from flammable substances in your home
  • Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants, peat moss, or items that can ignite easily
  • Before you throw away butts or ashes, be sure they are fully extinguished by dousing in water or sand