Burning issues revealed at Lents ‘Fire Faire’

Find out why Portland Fire & Rescue held this festival, and the chief message they hoped the community would learn. It could save your life …

Folks flock to Portland Fire & Rescue Station 11 to be part of this year’s traveling “Fire Safety Festival”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Neighbors from the southern portion of outer East Portland came to the Lents Neighborhood on October 12 to be part of the Portland Fire & Rescue Fire (PF&R) Fire Safety Festival held at Station 11, located at 5707 SE 92nd Avenue.

During the day-long event, guests participated in fire safety learning stations, and were fed a free hotdog and hamburger lunch with all the trimming’s – cooked to order on the fire union’s custom made trailer.

Showing neighbors the features of Engine 11 is Public Information Officer Lt. Ron Rouse.

“The decision to hold the festival in Lents is due to the number of fires and calls for service in this area,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Ron Rouse

“During Fire Prevention Week – a nationwide campaign –we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to get our message across about fire safety,” Rouse told East Portland News.

PF&R Firefighter /Paramedic and Fire Inspector Jeff Herman works the grill cooking up fresh burgers and hotdogs.

Firefighter Alice Johnson, a PF&R fire prevention educator led adults and children through learning stations, including a 911-simulator that teaches how to make an emergency call and an interactive “hazard house” home-hazard hunt, and a smoke alarm display aimed at demystifying smoke alarms.

“Two of every five home fires start in the kitchen,” stated Johnson, as she began a “live fire” demonstration, simulating a cooking fire. She pointed out common mistakes people often make when they have a cooking fire.

“In fact, ‘Preventing Cooking Fires’ is the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week,” Johnson told the group.

The National Fire Prevention Association says that unattended cooking was a factor in 34% of reported home cooking fires, and two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.

“The cooking pan is on fire! What should I do?” asks PFR firefighter and Public Education Officer Alice Johnson during this Fire Safety Festival.

“Never, ever, walk away from pots and pans that are cooking food on a range or stove,” Rouse commented, pointing out that ranges account for the 58% of home cooking fire incidents nationwide, and ovens accounted for a mere 16% of fires.

“It’s especially important to remember this as we go into the Holiday season. People are busy preparing to entertain family and friends – and it seems there’s so many things to do around the house.

“But, walking away from food cooking on the stove – even for ‘just a few minutes’ – can result in a blaze that will – in the least, spoil your dinner – but can ruin your Holidays and perhaps destroy your home,” Rouse warned.

Teaching kids how, and when, to call 9-1-1 is part of Public Education Officer Alice Johnson’s message.

In addition to the educational aspects of the day, visitors were able crawl around Engine 11, take a tour of the firehouse, and walk away with fun prizes and giveaways.

To learn more fire prevention safety tips, see PF&R’s safety webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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