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News Releases
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The state fire marshal wants you to keep fire safety on your holiday menu (Photo) - 11/17/17

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is reminding Oregonians to keep fire safety front and center when cooking and preparing holiday meals.

"When friends and family gather at this festive time of year, don't let it be marred by tragedy," says Walker. "By following a few fire prevention tips, you can keep yourself and loved ones safe."

From 2012 through 2016, there were more than 3,600 cooking-related fires reported in Oregon causing seven deaths, 200 injuries, and more than $33 million in property loss.

Cooking safety tips:
* Keep a close eye on your cooking; never leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove or set a timer.
* Keep your cooking area clean, including stovetop, burners, oven, and exhaust fan.
* Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, dishtowels, and food packaging away from your stovetop.
* Wear clothing that will not dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.
* Keep pot and pan handles turned inward on the stove to avoid bumping them and spilling hot foods.
* Heat cooking oil slowly and never leave it unattended.
* Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.

If you have a cooking fire:
* Always keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and don't move the pan until it is completely cool.
* Never pour water on a grease fire; it can splatter the grease and spread the fire.
* In the event of a fire in your oven or microwave, turn them off and keep the doors closed.
* When in doubt, get out! Call 9-1-1 after you leave.

Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.

Turkey fryer safety:
The OSFM agrees with the National Fire Protection Association in discouraging the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil. The use of deep fat turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property.

However, if you use a fryer, the OSFM urges you to use extreme caution.

"If you're cooking your turkey in a deep fat fryer, always do it outdoors a safe distance from buildings, deck railings, and any other flammable material, and never leave it unattended," advises State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. "Hot oil is extremely dangerous, never use turkey fryers on a wooden deck or in your garage."

More turkey fryer safety tips:
* Lower and raise food slowly to reduce splatter and prevent burns.
* Cover bare skin when adding or removing food from the fryer.
* Make sure to have at least two feet of space between the propane tank and the fryer burner.
* If the oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the fryer gas supply off and leave the pot uncovered to cool.

For more information on cooking safety, visit: http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/Pages/cookingsafety.aspx

For more information on general home fire safety, visit: http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/pages/commed_firesafety_program.aspx

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State fire marshal urges you to test your smoke alarms when turning your clock back - 11/02/17

Sunday, November 5th, marks the end of daylight saving time and serves as a good reminder for Oregonians to test their smoke alarms. The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before automatically changing the batteries.

"Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with 10-year batteries and some are tamper-resistant," said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. "So, I encourage residents to test their alarms before changing the battery, and to be sure to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older."

Oregon law requires ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered to come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery. Because of this technology, the national slogan "Change your clock, Change your battery" may not apply to Oregon residents who have these ionization-only smoke alarms.

Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a 10-year battery or a standard-life battery.

"Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family's safety from a home fire," adds Walker.

To test your alarm properly we recommend you:

1) Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.
2) When replacing batteries, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct battery type to use.
3) Always retest alarms after installing new batteries.
4) Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.
5) Inspect your alarms to determine if they are 10 years old or older, and replace any smoke alarm 10 years old or older. Look for a date on the back of the alarm. If there is no date, your alarm is more than 10 years old and should be replaced.
6) Follow the manufacturer's instructions for regularly cleaning your alarms of dust and cobwebs.

Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, which increase your chances of survival. Additional safety tips:

* Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area (hallway).
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* Use the smoke alarm's hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
* Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with family members.
* Practice you home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
* Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them.

For more home fire escape planning information visit: http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/Pages/escapeplan.aspx

For more smoke alarm and fire safety information, contact your local fire department or visit
http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/Pages/CommEd_SA_Program.aspx

Follow the OSFM on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OregonStateFireMarshal and Twitter @OSFM.