Issue No. 36 November 2014
Thanksgiving Safety Tips
Did you know Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year nationwide for home fires involving cooking equipment? Safety in the kitchen is always important (kitchen fires are the #1 cause of home fires in Portland), but kitchen safety is especially important on holidays like Thanksgiving when there's a lot of activity and people at home.
Unattended cooking is the top contributing factor to kitchen fires and many of the injuries that occur happen when people respond with inappropriate actions. Observe the following "Do's and Don'ts" to avoid these common fires and fire injuries.
- Attend to your cooking.
- Keep handles of stovetop pots and pans turned in.
- Keep things that catch fire away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire:
- Smother the fire by sliding a lid over the pan.
- Turn off the burner.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- For a microwave fire, unplug or turn off the power at the breaker and keep the door closed.
- Never pour water on a grease fire!
- Never discharge a portable extinguisher into a cooking pan - it will spread the fire.
- Do not try to carry pots or pans of grease outside - this can lead to scalds and serious burns.
While Portland Fire & Rescue discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled deep fryers. If you plan to deep fry turkey this year, please be mindful of the risks.
The Dangers of
- Hot oil may splash or spill during the cooking. Contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury.
- A hot spill can happen with fryers designed for outdoor use using a stand. The fryer could tip over or collapse causing the hot oil to spill. Newer countertop units using a solid base appear to reduce this risk.
- When deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350 degrees or more. Cooking oil is combustible. If it is heated above its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite.
- Propane-fired turkey fryers must be used outdoors. But if it rains or snows, the oil may splatter or turn to steam, leading to burns.
- Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer. A partially thawed turkey will cause oil to splatter causing serious burns (check out this video)
- Fryers use a lot of oil, about five gallons. Considering the size and weight of the turkey, extreme caution must be taken when placing and removing the turkey from the fryer to be sure it's not dropped back into the fryer, splattering oil on the chef.
PF&R encourages those who like fried turkey to look for stores that sell them pre-cooked or consider using an "oil-less" turkey fryer.
Fire Chief Erin Janssens to Receive
Equity Foundation Award
On November 8, the Equity Foundation will honor Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Erin Janssens with an award to mark her role as a catalyst for change in the areas of diversity and inclusion. Portland Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman will introduce Chief Janssens at the event held at the downtown University Club. Janssens is proud, but notes: "It's only because of the work of so many before us that I have had the opportunities I've had and the privilege to be honored in this way."
Join the Great American Smokeout!
Portland Fire & Rescue encourages all smokers to join the Great American Smokeout on November 20th. Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. They may use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking on that day. The Great American Smokeout event challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.
As you may know, cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths on a city, state, and national level. Victims of smoking material fires include not only smokers but their families, friends and neighbors.
Most cigarette fires are caused by improperly discarded smoking material (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc). These fires often start outside, then move to a structure. Other common ignition factors include falling asleep while smoking and smoking with medical oxygen.
Prevent smoking material fires by following these tips:
- Do not smoke in bed or anywhere that you may fall asleep.
- If you smoke, smoke outside.
- Do not discard cigarettes in potted plants, landscape vegetation or bark dust - they can easily catch fire!
- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray or a non-combustible container that cannot be tipped over.
- Before throwing away butts or ashes, douse in water or sand.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
For more safety tips click here. You can also find information on quitting tobacco and finding telephone counseling or other support by calling 1-800-227-2345. Visit "Stay Away from Tobacco" to learn more.
(source: American Cancer Society)
Fall Landlord Training Program
Are you a landlord? PF&R along with the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) and the Portland Police Bureau, offer free landlord training classes to help you manage your property. The classes teach you how to keep illegal activity out of rentals, maintain property in compliance with City regulations, and partner with City services/programs both to provide habitable housing and protect your residential property investment. Upcoming classes are on Nov. 15, 17 and Nov. 22. To learn more about this training opportunity and how you can register with BDS click here.
On November 20, PF&R will hold its 2014 Fall Award Ceremony at 7:00 pm in City Hall Council Chambers. Honorees include two Portland firefighters and a bystander who helped a drowning victim, two construction workers who broke down a locked gate and pulled an unconscious person from a fire to safety, and two people who alerted residents to a fire and used a garden hose for suppression until PF&R arrived on the scene.
Portland's fire service history began in the spring of 1851, with the founding of the Pioneer Engine Company, the same year the City of Portland was officially incorporated. No more than a bucket brigade, it was a volunteer force of 37 fire fighters wearing red shirts with a single hand pump.
Today, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is the largest fire and emergency services provider in the State of Oregon with 725 employees and serves a population of 610,000. In 2013, PF&R responded to 70,386 emergency incidents.
Portland Fire & Rescue
55 SW Ash St
Portland, Oregon 97204