For the City Times
Submitted by Fire Marshall Todd Eckes
Cooking Fires in Multifamily Dwellings
During the month of April as part of a Community Risk Reduction program, the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department partnered with the local renter’s association and identified, with their help, apartment complexes that we would install 10-year smoke alarms in. This problem was identified through research done using data that was submitted through the last ten years to the National Incident Fire Reporting System (NFIRS) at the United States Fire Administration from our city.
That data revealed to us that, like the rest of the nation our number one cause of fire in the city was cooking. The caveat is that it happens in Wisconsin Rapids at a higher than average rate in Multi Family dwellings. To add to the concern, the last two fatalities due to fire in the city was accredited to cooking in a multi-family dwelling.
WRFD partnered with the Red Cross and WISSAFE and received 96 smoke alarms that were ear marked for those identified locations. When completed at the end of April we will have installed close to 100 alarms in apartment complexes, but more importantly we spent some time with the tenants explaining the importance of safety while cooking, identifying do’s and don’ts when cooking, and giving them some suggestions on safety in the kitchen and home in general. These newly installed alarms have sealed batteries and should last ten years, the suggested life of any smoke alarm.
As always the safety of the citizens of Wisconsin Rapids are WRFD’s top priority.