Despite pandemic restrictions, officials hope to spread word on importance of fire safety

It’s National Fire Prevention Week this week, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Rome Fire Department won’t be able to make their usual visits to local schools or host students for tours of the firehouse.

Instead, Fire Chief Thomas Iacovissi said his firefighters are working on a new digital presentation that will be available to teachers and students all year round.

“We are trying to develop something that the schools can use,” Iacovissi stated, noting that the project is still in its “early stages” and they don’t have many of the details worked out just yet. He said they are considering using Google Classroom.

“We obviously can’t go into the schools or have the students come here” due to the pandemic, the chief noted. But he said the department is still fully on board with National Fire Prevention Week.

This year’s fire prevention theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety In the Kitchen”. The campaign is about educating everyone on basic fire safety in the kitchen, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“A cooking fire can grow quickly and many homes have been damaged and people have been injured by fires that could have easily been prevented,” noted Utica Fire Captain Joe Puleo. Many local fire departments are educating residents on kitchen safety. The Utica Fire Department is hosting a video series on kitchen safety on their website at

Kitchen fire safety tips:

• Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave for a short time, turn off the stove.

• If simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly. Always remain in the home while food is
cooking in the oven and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re still cooking.

• Be alert when cooking. Don’t use the stove or oven if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs recently or have consumed enough alcohol to make yourself drunk or drowsy.

• Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid of the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

• Keep children at least 3-feet away from the stove and any areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

More information on Fire Prevention Week and kitchen fire safety can be found online at

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