Released by City of St. Cloud Public Information Office
St. Cloud Fire Rescue (SCFR) personnel is asking St. Cloud residents to have a working fire extinguisher in their homes to help save lives and minimize property damage during a fire. SCFR crews responded to a kitchen fire at Sawyer Estates Apartments off of Old Canoe Creek Road May 2 and found a smoke-filled apartment with only some smoldering debris on and above the stove. The resident had extinguished the fire by using a fire extinguisher.
“This fire was caused by unattended cooking, which is one of the leading causes of residential fires nationwide,” said St. Cloud Fire Marshal Richard Tonks. “However, property management provides a fire extinguisher in these units and the resident’s quick actions confined the fire to the area of origin, only resulting in damage to the appliances and cabinets. This fire could have spread through the apartment very quickly and jeopardize the entire apartment building.”
Although apartment buildings are required by code to have fire extinguishers, SCFR personnel highly recommend that all homeowners have at least one dry-chemical fire extinguisher in their home.
A fire extinguisher should be kept near the kitchen, but not in a location where the homeowner would have to pass by a fire to retrieve it, and another should be kept in any other area of the home where hazardous conditions may be present (such as the garage). Fire extinguishers should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and everyone in the home should know how to use it.
Tonks recommend that everyone remember the acronym PASS:
Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire while standing six feet away, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep back and forth along the base of the fire until it is out or the extinguisher is empty
“You should always keep an exit to the outside of the home behind you so that the fire does not cut off your means of getting out,” Tonks added. “Fire extinguishers are intended for small fires so don’t try to put out a fire that you are unsure that you can handle. Call 911 immediately, even if the fire is put out so that firefighters can confirm that it is completely out. They can also provide a fire report for any insurance claims.”
Besides having fire extinguishers, other fire-safety measures to practice include having and maintaining working smoke alarms, having an escape plan familiar to everyone in the home, having a meeting place for everyone to meet after escaping a fire and teaching children to dial call 911. Homeowners are also advised to never leave anything cooking unattended in the kitchen, especially when frying food.
Most fires are preventable. To learn more about what to do before, during and after a fire, visit the American Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire or call 407-957-8484.