Fire Expo Saturday worthwhile

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Kitchen fires have become a hot issue and Lancaster County firefighters hope to cool down the subject.
Kitchen fires will be a top issue addressed during the 19th annual Lancaster County Fire Expo set, for Saturday, Oct. 12, in the University Place (Walmart Supercenter) parking lot on S.C. 9 Bypass West.
County firefighters, according to statistics, have responded to 78 structure fires that began in the kitchen area in 2012.
“The kitchen fires are an issue in Lancaster County,” said Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder.
The Fire Expo will cap Fire Prevention Week, which began Sunday and continues to Saturday.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 95 percent of home structure fires from 2006 to 2010 began in the kitchen.
Cooking equipment is regarded as the leading cause of home fires and was involved in about 150,000 home fires in the United States last year.
Bringing the stats closer to home, since January 2012, some 45 structure fires in the city limits have been traced to kitchens.
County firefighters are taking aim at the problem and hoping to arm area residents with important information about preventing fires.
Expo attendees will receive a  handy safety backpack, which will contain vital information about fire prevention.
The goal of the expo is to not only educate children, but their parents, said Lancaster Fire Department Lt. David Melton.
The information will help to educate about fire safety and prevention.
This information will likely be quite timely since colder weather will be here soon and homeowners will be looking to heat sources such as fireplaces. The holidays are also not too far away and residents will likely find useful information regarding holiday lights and overloaded outlets.
With the coming of the annual fall time change, firefighters remind residents to check batteries in smoke alarms.
The expo, which will also feature the Lancaster Police Department, American Red Cross and Lancaster County EMS, is regarded as a community event.
“Have fun with the community and learn about fire safety,” Melton said.
Saturday will be busy with several area events on tap, but we encourage residents to take some time and attend the Fire Expo.
It will be fun and at the same time, provide key material in how to handle a serious situation.