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National Fire Prevention Week begins

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The National Fire Protection Association and fire departments across North America observe Fire Prevention Week Sunday through Oct. 14 to raise public awareness of fire safety. 

During the week, Minot Air Force Base's Fire and Emergency Services flight in conjunction with the Minot City Fire Department will hand out literature to adults and fire hats to children at the Dakota Square Mall and the Base Exchange Monday through Oct 13. 

"Fire Prevention Week is time to educate everybody," said Jim Clifford, base Fire and Emergency Services flight chief. "You are never too young or too old to learn about the importance of fire prevention and safety." 

The base Fire and Emergency Services flight holds an open house at the base fire station Thursday. During the open house, they will hand out facility manager of the year plaques to the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Space Wing. 

"This is an opportunity to recognize those facility mangers who have impeccable fire prevention records and take fire prevention seriously," said Mr. Clifford. 

The base Fire and Emergency Services flight will also hand out fire prevention packages and fire hats for children in kindergarten through second grade at local schools Tuesday to Oct. 13. There's also a coloring contest at both elementary schools. The fire department structural vehicle will be there with Sparky the Fire Dog and a firefighter in full gear. 

While spreading the word about fire prevention, the base Fire and Emergency Services flight will concentrate on the theme of Fire Prevention Week 2006, which is kitchen fire safety - Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat! 

According to David Richard, Minot Air Force Base fire inspector, most cooking fires occur because of unattended cooking. 

"People should stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food," said Mr. Richard. "If you must leave the room for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. When simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home and use a timer as a reminder. When finished cooking, people should make sure they turn off all burners and ovens." 

For small grease fires people should keep an oven mitt and lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan (wearing an oven mitt). Turn off the burner. To keep the fire from restarting, do not remove the lid until the pan is completely cool. 

"Never pour water on a grease fire," said Mr. Richard. "For oven fires, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to keep the flames from burning you or your clothing. Get out of the home and call the fire department." 

When using a microwave people should read the manufacturer's instructions before you get started. Plug the microwave directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a microwave because it can overload the circuit and cause a fire. 

"Use only microwave safe containers to heat food," said Mr. Richard. "Never use aluminum foil or metal objects in a microwave oven because they can cause a fire or damage the oven. If people have a fire in their microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out."
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