MADISONVILLE, Ky. (9/26/13) – Madisonville Fire Department (MFD) Fire Prevention Officer, Captain Kevin Cotton, brought his road show to the Country Cupboard Restaurant on Wednesday. Cotton said that while most departments focus on Fire Prevention Week, the MFD will be fully engaged in Fire Prevention Month in October. Each year MFD visits every second grade class in the county, teaching how to prevent and survive a house fire. This year, Cotton and his firefighters will spend all day at some schools including more than the second graders.
 
As part of the road show, the MFD has a new tool in teaching fire safety called “Fire Prevention and Life Safety Trailer”. This is a self-contained disaster on wheels. The trailer can simulate various fires, a tornado and demonstrate home sprinkler systems.
 
With the trailer, MFD personnel can demonstrate and allow participants practice how to put out various fires in the home. Captain Cotton gave SurfKY News a demonstration of a stove fire in the Trailer. His fire extinguisher (a training unit that uses a laser) quickly put out the fire. Cotton said that toasters were a serious source of house fires. “I ask kids how many have used a toaster and almost everyone raises their hand.” Cotton said.
 
Cotton, speaking to the Madisonville Rotary Club, said that Stove fires are often the result of distractions while cooking on stovetops. “Cell phone chargers are causing more fires as well” Cotton added. Citing statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, Cotton said that in 2012, U.S. Fire Departments responded to 1,375,000 house fires resulting in 2,855 civilian fatalities and 16,500 injuries. Property losses were in excess of $12 Billion dollars. Perhaps fire departments should change their names: only 4 percent of all calls for fire departments were for fires; 7 percent were false alarms; but, a whopping 68% were for aid such as EMS, vehicle extractions, etc.
 
Captain Cotton has seen first-hand the results of not practicing fire safety. He offered SurfKY News readers some solid suggestions:
 
1. Keep young children at least 3 feet from stoves – spills, splatters and stove fires can be fatal to young children venturing too close and never hold a child while cooking.
 
2. You should inspect and clean clothes dryer vents every six months – lint builds up in dryer vents and restricts proper venting. The dryer can overheat trying to push exhaust air through a stopped-up pipe, resulting in a fire.
 
3. If you home is over 40 years old, the wiring may not support many new appliances that have quicker cycle times and pull more current. Multiple appliances on a circuit add to the danger. Have your wiring inspected and upgraded if needed.
 
4. If you have a loose wall receptacle, it needs to be repaired. The wires can come in contact with other wires or the receptacle box and short out. Or, the wires can break and overheat. Both cases can result in a fire in the walls of your home.
 
5. Install and regularly test smoke alarms.
 
6. Make and practice a home fire escape plan.
 
Cotton said that MFD has received grant dollars for fire extinguisher training for area employers to train employees. Employers should contact Captain Cotton at his office 270-824-2134 to schedule training.
 
Ron Sanders
SurfKY News

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