E.S.C.A.P.E. President and Founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer joins Jake The Fire Safety Dog and Maranda at the Delton Kellogg Elementary School in Barry County Michigan to teach the children about fire safety during fire prevention month. They also launched a creative essay assignment for the students to demonstrate what they know about fire safety

E.S.C.A.P.E. President and Founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer brings Jake The Fire Safety Dog in studio and talks with Terri and Rachael about fire safety and ways to prevent cooking fires to keep families safe.  They also remind viewers to come out to Lowe’s of Portage for the 10th Annual Family Fire Safety Day event on Saturday October 26, 2013 from 10am – 3pm.


Prevent Kitchen Fires

For young children, the message to teach about the stove or oven is clear: Keep Away and create a 3-foot kid-free zone away from the stove, oven or other hot items.  Like matches and lighters, these things are tools for adults only.

But when is a child old enough to be given any cooking responsibilities that involve this equipment?  Because every child’s development and personality is different, there is no single rule that can determine when a child can be given responsibility for cooking, but here are some things to consider:

How old and mature is the child?

Before the age of about 11 years old, children can’t really anticipate events they haven’t experienced.  If something unexpected happens, they are unprepared. This has nothing to do with the child’s intelligence; it is simply normal brain development.

Parents are often fooled by children of this age.  Elementary school children are very good at following directions. If they are shown how to do something, most often they can perform even a complex chore correctly time and again-as long as the pattern remains the same.

What they are not good at is anticipating what might go wrong and how to respond if something does.  So even if they can cook, and do so regularly, they need close supervision. If the grease catches on fire or a napkin falls across a burner, it is only by chance that they will respond quickly and appropriately.

Think about hiring a babysitter for your own children. Most people want a sitter who is older than elementary school age. They understand, intuitively, that one of the key responsibilities of a babysitter is to keep their children safe in an emergency.  They are able to respond and react correctly if something unexpected happens.  National Babysitting Training Courses are designed for 11-to-15-year-olds, setting a national standard concerning the age of responsibility.

How well does the child comply with other types of rules?

Some children are more impulsive than others, some are more compliant, and some are bigger risk-takers.  A 14-year-old who is a risk-taker may not be ready to be given this responsibility while a more compliant 12-year-old is.

Has the child been taught clear rules about cooking, such as:

  • Always stay close to the stove and watch it carefully when you’re cooking food.
  • Keep a pan’s lid and a dry oven mitt nearby, and know what to do if food or grease catches fire.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire, including towels and wooden utensils, a safe distance from the stovetop.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Always use oven mitts when putting things in or taking things out of the oven.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat, keep the door closed and go outside to call 911.

Do you use safe techniques yourself when you cook?

What you do can be more important than what you tell a child.  Leaving food cooking on the stove unattended not only creates an immediate hazard but tells children that fire needn’t be treated seriously.  Children often imitate the actions of adults.  Remember to Stand By Your Pan when cooking, frying or broiling and Put a Lid On It and turn off the heat if there is a fire in a pan on the stove.

When you have questions about fire safety, please contact your local fire department on their non-emergency business telephone number.


Put A Lid On Cooking Fires – Fire Prevention Week October 6 – 12, 2013

October is Fire Prevention Month and “Prevent Kitchen Fires” is this year’s message.  Cooking brings family and friends together, provides an outlet for creativity and can be relaxing.  But did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking was a factor in 34% of reported home cooking fires and 2/3 of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials on the stovetop.

Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires.  Nearly half of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2011 across the country were scald burns.

By following a few safety tips, you can prevent these fires:

“Cook With Caution”

Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.       If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of 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 are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

If You Have A Cooking Fire…


Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

  • Call 9-1-1 to alert the local fire department
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires.       Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If you have any questions about fire safety, please feel free to contact your local fire department.


FIRE PREVENTION WEEK. PREVENT KITCHEN FIRES” is NFPA’s official theme for Fire Prevention Week (FPW) 2013, October 6-12, 2013. This year’s theme “Prevent Kitchen Fires”, will focus on spreading the word that more fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home – and show people how to keep cooking fires from starting in the first place. Here are some interesting fire facts:


Home Fires

  • In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, $6.9 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking is the leading cause home fires and home fire injuries, followed heating equipment. Smoking is a leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2011, 12 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 67 deaths.



  • U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853 million in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires start in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in 34% of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for the 58% of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.
  • Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires. Nearly half (44%) of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2011 were scald burns.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 16% of the cooking fire deaths.



  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (32%) of home heating fires and four out of five (80%) home heating deaths.
  • Half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • In most years, heating is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries. Fixed or portable space heaters are involved in about 4 out of 5 heating fire deaths.


Smoking Materials

  • During 2007-2011 smoking materials caused an estimated 17,900 home structure fires, resulting in 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries and $509 million in direct property damage, per year.
  • Sleep was a factor in one-third of the home smoking material fire deaths.
  • Possible alcohol impairment was a factor in one in five of home smoking fire deaths.
  • In recent years, Canada and the United States have required that all cigarettes sold must be “fire safe,” that is have reduced ignition strength and less likely to start fires.



  • About half (49%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment water heater and range.
  • Electrical failure or malfunctions caused an average of almost 50,000 home fires per year, resulting in roughly 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.



  • During 2007-2011 candles caused 3% of home fires, 4% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries and 6% of direct property damage from home fires.
  • On average, there are 32 home candle fires reported per day.
  • Roughly one-third of these fires started in the bedroom; however, the candle industry found that only 13% of candle users burn candles in the bedroom most often.
  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.


Escape Planning

  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it .
  • One-third of Americans households who made and estimate they thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!


Smoke Alarms

  • Almost two-thirds (62%) of reported home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 92% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 77% of the time.

It is important to have and practice a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That’s why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. An emphasis will be placed on reminding families to practice their home fire escape plan at least twice a year.

The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes. Resources for developing and practicing a home fire escape plan and other fire safety tips may be obtained by visiting www.firepreventionweek.org.

The E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety Team including Jake the Fire Safety Dog (www.jakethefiredog.org) will continue their fire safety outreach efforts and appearances in area schools and throughout communities in Michigan, Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire to promote the 2013 Fire Prevention Week theme from early May through early November, 2013. You may follow our travels and keep up to date with safety tips by visiting us on Facebook or on our page on WOTV4Women.



Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The ‘Moo’ Myth

Like any good story, the ‘case of the cow’ has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O’Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O’Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out – or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O’Leary herself swore that she’d been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.
But if a cow wasn’t to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O’Leary’s may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day – in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.


NFPA has been the official sponsor of FPW for nearly 90 years.

Fire Prevention Week themes over the years:

NBFU 1927 Why this Mad Sacrifice to Fire?
NBFU 1928 FIRE…Do Your Part – Stop This Waste!
NBFU 1929 FIRE – The Nation’s Greatest Menace! Do Your Part to Stop This Waste!
NBFU 1930 Fight Fire Waste with Fire Prevention. Do Your Part
NBFU 1931 Do Your Part to Prevent Fire
NBFU 1932 Your Life. Your Property
1933 Your Life. Your Property
1934 Now War on Fire
1935 What Would Fire Mean to You?
1936 Stop It
1937 Help Prevent Fires
1938 Is This Your Tomorrow?
1939 Was Somebody Careless?
1940 Keep Fire In Its Place
1941 Defend Against Fire
1942 Today Every Fire Helps Hitler
1943 Fires Fight for the Axis! (to emphasize home fire prevention)
Feed Fighters Not Fires (farm and rural campaign)
The War’s Over for This Plant (industrial use)
Was Somebody Careless? (general purpose)
1944 To Speed Victory – Prevent Fires (general purpose)
Feed Fighters, Not Fires! (farm and rural)
To Speed Victory, Defeat Fire (town plaster)
1945 We Burned the Enemy – Now Save Yourself from Fire
1946 FIRE is the Silent Partner of Inflation
1947 YOU caused 1,700,000 Fires last Year!
1948 Help Yourself to Fire Prevention!
1949 Flameproof Your Future!
1950 Don’t Let Fire Lick You
1951 Defend America From Fire
1952 Be Free From Fear of Fire
1953 Fire Feeds on Careless Deeds
1954 Let’s Grow Up – Not Burn Up
1955 Don’t Give Fire A Place to Start
1956 Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1957 Make Sure of Their Tomorrows – Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1958 Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1959 Fire Prevention is Your Job…Too
1960 Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1961 Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1962 Fire Prevention is Your Job…Too
1963 Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1964 Fire Prevention is Your Job…Too
1965 Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start
1966 Fight Fire
1967 Fire Hurts
1968 Fire Hurts
1969 Fire Hurts
1970 Fire Hurts
1971 Fire Hurts
1972 Fire Hurts
1973 Help Stop Fire
1974 Things That Burn
1975 Learn Not to Burn
1976 Learn Not to Burn
1977 Where There’s Smoke, There Should Be a Smoke Alarm
1978 You Are Not Alone!
1979 Partners in Fire Prevention
1980 Partners in Fire Prevention
1981 EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home)
1982 Learn Not To Burn – Wherever You Are
1983 Learn Not To Burn All Through the Year
1984 Join the Fire Prevention Team
1985 Fire Drills Save Lives at Home at School at Work
1986 Learn Not to Burn: It Really Works!
1987 Play It Safe…Plan Your Escape
1988 A Sound You Can Live With: Test Your Smoke Detector
1989 Big Fires Start Small: Keep Matches and Lighters in the Right Hands
1990 Keep Your Place Firesafe: Hunt for Home Hazards
1991 Fire Won’t Wait…Plan Your Escape.
1992 Test Your Detector – It’s Sound Advice!
1993 Get Out, Stay Out: Your Fire Safe Response
1994 Test Your Detector For Life
1995 Watch What You Heat: Prevent Home Fires!
1996 Let’s Hear It For Fire Safety: Test Your Detectors!
1997 Know When to Go: React Fast to Fire
1998 Fire Drills: The Great Escape!
1999 Fire Drills: The Great Escape!
2000 Fire Drills: The Great Escape!
2001 Cover the Bases & Strike Out Fire
2002 Team Up for Fire Safety
2003 When Fire Strikes: Get Out! Stay Out!
2004 It’s Fire Prevention Week! Test Your Smoke Alarms
2005 Use Candles With Care
2006 Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat
2007 It’s Fire Prevention Week! Practice Your Escape Plan
2008 It’s Fire Prevention Week! Prevent Home Fires
2009 Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned
2010 Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With
2011 It’s Fire Prevention Week! Protect Your Family From Fire!
2012 Have 2 Ways Out! 2013 Prevent Kitchen Fires

“Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week Web site, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2013 NFPA.”

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