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Saving Older Adults from Cooking Fire Risks

Pick up the paper or turn on the news. About 45 house fires are reported every hour in the U.S., and 60 percent of apartment fires are started by cooking equipment. More than 12 million unintentional home cooking fires go unreported causing 640,000 injuries annually. It just takes minutes for a fire to start.

Unfortunately, many fire injuries and deaths are among those over 50. As we age, poor hearing and vision, as well as health problems affecting mobility contribute to putting mature adults in the highest risk group for cooking fires. In addition to the destruction of property estimated at $7 billion per year in the U.S. alone, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 43 percent of people who have died in cooking fires were asleep at the time. It’s easy to see that the growing baby boomer populations is at higher risk because they generally fall asleep early and are more forgetful.

According to US News, between 2000 and 2010, the number of people age 65 to 84 in the U.S. grew by 3.3 million, and the 40 million senior citizens in 2012 will balloon to 89 million by 2050.
This a wakeup call to not just those who live alone or with a spouse now that the kids have grown and moved out, but also for those in the senior housing industry, and the adult children who care for elderly parents. Developers spend millions building beautiful retirement communities with many amenities that cater to people over 50, but do not consider that distraction, forgetfulness and memory loss can pose significant dangers to the residents who cook. We increase cooking safety by requiring that all new senior housing requires, at the very least, a range top suppression system in both private apartments and community kitchens.

Further, with the recession and the concurrent reduction in fire fighter staff seen in cities big and small, it would be equally smart to stop fires before they start. States should require mandatory range top suppression equipment in new buildings or remodels just like sprinklers and earthquake shut-off valves are.

In the meantime, there are some safety precautions that boomers can take to prevent cooking fires:

  • Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and practice using it.
  • Have a pot cover close by to put out a cooking fire quickly.
  • Wipe up spills from the stove which could catch fire.
  • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.
  • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames.
  • Don’t overfill pans with grease or cooking oil.
  • Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
  • Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Never leave the kitchen to answer the door, grab the telephone, or change clothes while something is cooking without shutting the gas or electricity off.
  • It is dangerous to cook while on certain prescription medications or drinking alcohol.

I’m a boomer too, so I have a vested interest in safety for all of us.

To read this article visit Senior Outlook Today

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Guardian Safety Solutions Warns Workplace Cafeterias Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

Guardian Safety Solutions International experts estimate that more than 12 million unintentional cooking fires go unreported causing 640,000 injuries annually. When a cooking fire starts in a workplace cafeteria, be it a college, business or a police station, putting the fire out quickly is imperative.
“Probably everyone knows someone who had a fire while cooking because these are mostly caused by inattentiveness or carelessness,” said Paul Rouse, GSSI administrative officer. “It could be cardboard from pizzas too close to the stove or a grease fire. Next thing you know, it consumes the stove and other flammable material in the kitchen,” he adds.

In addition to the destruction of property estimated at $7 billion per year in the U.S. alone, the National Fire Protection Association reports that cooking causes almost half of fire fatalities each year. 
“These statistics are the core of our “Guardian Solution,’ or range top suppression system,” said Rouse “The time to protect yourself against a range top fire is before it strikes.  By simply installing the Guardian, those in charge of workplace cafeterias can rest at ease knowing that potential cooking fires stand no chance in a Guardian protected kitchen.” He added that kitchens can be retrofitted as well.
The Guardian is designed to detect and extinguish cooking fires and at the same time prevents re-ignition. Once it detects heat at a pre-determined temperature, a signal is sent to release the extinguishing agent to suppress the fire and to shut off the gas or electric supply to the stove in order to prevent reigniting.  The design of the system offers:

  • automatic operation
  • continuous 24-hour protection
  • concealed installation
  • easy clean-up
  • proven reliability

“It is imperative to minimize damage and injury to employees,” Rouse said. “The Guardian system provides that speed and protection.”

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Cooking Can Be Hazardous to College Life: 72 Percent of Campus Fires Are Cooking Related

Some of the biggest parental fears sending kids off to college concern safety. While safety is a top priority, I suspect that many parents rank fear of kitchen fires well below safety concerns about drugs, alcohol, crime and other campus issues.  They shouldn’t.  In fact, dear parents, college fires should move up to the top of your list of concerns since 72 percent of college campus fires are cooking-related. Campus cooking fires cause more than $25 million in damages each year.

Besides rigorous college courses, there are so many demands on young adults’ attention in today’s busy world – texting, emails, friends visiting, the hectic start of college life and possibly alcohol consumption. It’s pretty easy for college kids to start to cook a meal and forget about it.  I’ve done it myself.  Next thing you know, a fire spreads from a stove or hot plate to curtains and other highly-flammable material in a dorm room.  Putting the fire out quickly is imperative to minimize injury to students and damage to the building and belongings.

Most college fires are due to lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention.  So what can parents do to help minimize risks?  We work with state fire marshals and fire inspectors and others who spend years helping to educate others about the risks of cooking fires. Here’s some basic advice to discuss with your college students and the college administration.

  1. Make sure there are smoke detectors installed and that the batteries are fresh.
  2. Teach your kid how to use a fire extinguisher.  Before they leave for school, practice using one with your child and make sure there is at least one available in the cooking area at the dorm.
  3. Discuss escape routes when you deliver your college student to the dorm.
  4. Emphasize that leaving a building when a fire alarm goes off is imperative.  It could save your child’s life.  Emphasize that no property or memento is worth dying for.
  5. Learn to properly use and maintain stoves and cooking appliances.

It’s also a good idea to talk to the head of the cafeteria on campus and dorm manager about fire safety.  Make sure that they:

  • Install smoke alarms in every room and test weekly.
  • Inspect rooms and buildings for fire hazards regularly.
  • Make sure exit doors and windows are working properly.
  • Conduct fire drills and practice escape routes.
  • Get to know on-campus public safety personnel

An inexpensive way to prevent tragedies from cooking is to have the college install an automatic range top suppression system over each stove in dorm room cooking areas. They are designed to detect and extinguish cooking fires and at the same time prevent re-ignition. Installed sprinkler systems can also prevent deaths and injuries, as well as reduce millions of dollars in property damage.

College life is meant to be a wonderful beginning not a tragic end.  Take these steps to protect your precious children.  A few minutes of your time and attention will ensure a safe and fun college experience.

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Hotel and Motel Stays Can Be Deadly

Every year there are almost 4,000 hotel and motel fires reported to U.S. fire departments, resulting in $76 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Almost 50 percent of these fires are started by cooking. Fortunately, they tend to stay small and confined. One of the most memorable and deadly fires was the MGM Hotel fire in Las Vegas in 1980 which killed 85 people and injured scores more.

Since I started in the fire prevention business years ago, many positive changes have been made to make hotel and motel kitchens safer, but still fires do He added that kitchens can be retrofitted as well.

Rouse offered 5 tips travelers can take to protect themselves:

    • Make sure that you confirm that the hotel or motel is equipped with automatic sprinklers and fire alarms before you travel – this is especially important for trips outside the country as the strict U.S. standards may not apply.
    • Pack a small flashlight.
    • Review the evacuation map posted on the floor where you are staying.
    • If there is a fire, always use a stairwell and not an elevator.

If there is a fire, feel the door of your room. If it is hot, keep it closed and seal it with wet towels. Call 911 and let the operator know which room in the hotel you are staying, and signal from your window. Break it if you have to.

The Guardian is designed to detect and extinguish cooking fires and at the same time prevents re-ignition. Once it detects heat at a pre-determined temperature, a signal is sent to release the extinguishing agent to suppress the fire and to shut off the gas or electric supply to the stove in order to prevent reigniting. The design of the system offers:

      • automatic operation
      • continuous 24-hour protection
      • concealed installation
      • easy clean-up
      • proven reliability

“It is imperative to minimize damage and injury to travelers and employees alike,” Rouse said. “The Guardian system provides speed and protection.”

 

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Guardian SSI Exhibits Range Top Suppression

Guardian Safety Solutions International Inc. (GSSI), in the development and manufacturing of residential range top fire protection systems, is exhibiting at the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) Sectional Conference, April 4 – 5, at Bally’s Atlantic City. NAFED’s guiding mission is gathering and disseminating information and ideas that will improve the world’s fire protection and increase the fire protection industry’s competence.

“We are delighted to demonstrate our ‘Guardian Solution’ range top suppression system at NAFED,” said Paul Rouse, GSSI’s administrative officer. “This is extremely important as there are 34,000 kitchen fires each day causing more than $7 billion in damage every year.” He added that More than 12 million unintentional home cooking fires go unreported causing 640,000 injuries annually.

GSSI manufactures the Guardian III Model G300B, UL and ULC listed with a fuel shut-off. “The Guardian is designed to detect and extinguish cooking fires and prevent re-ignition in private homes, apartments, senior housing, college campuses, hospitals and other facilities. Even older kitchens can be retrofitted as well,” Rouse said.

Once it detects heat at a pre-determined temperature, the Guardian sends a signal to release an extinguishing agent that suppresses the fire. Guardian will also shut off the gas or electric supply to the stove in order to prevent reigniting. The design of the system offers:

automatic operation
continuous 24-hour protection
concealed installation
easy clean-up
proven reliability

To view the article visit Fireengineering.com

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