Kitchen fires a hot safety topic
Former Tokoroa radio star turned fire education officer Harry Ponga had Strathmore School staff and students in fits of laughter.
Mr Ponga, now living in Maketu, organised a fire safety show for the children, including a burning kitchen.
‘‘ They wrote me letters asking me to come home for a visit,’’ Mr Ponga said.
‘‘The children came to camp in Maketu earlier this year so we took them out and they had a real good time.’’ The fire safety show focused on the dangers of cooking and keeping an eye on your stove while preparing meals.
‘‘Keep looking while you are cooking. . . if your Maori and making a boil-up keep an eye on your kai,’’ Mr Ponga said.
The children enjoyed the kitchen burning segment of the show. They learned that if a fire started in a pot on the stove they could put a wooden chopping board, pot lid or a wet tea towel over the pot to dampen down the flames.
They were also told not to pour water on a pot of oil that has caught fire because the flames erupt.
Students Lennox Watene, Tyra Misa and Strathmore School principal Murray Kendrick had a competition to see who could dress in firefighter gear the fastest, all were helped by many hands during the process.
The main aim of the day was to promote fire safety around the kitchen area.
There have been 21 fires in Tokoroa this year alone, with a majority in the kitchen. Tokoroa Home Fire Safety Advisor Cappy Howard said just one in four homes in Tokoroa had smoke alarms.
‘‘This is not a good statistic,’’ Mr Howard said.
Mr Howard is part of the Te Kotahitanga Home Fire Safety Project, which installs fire alarms in Tokoroa free of charge for those who have a community service card.
If you are interested in receiving home fire safety advice phone 0800 SAFE HOME.
FIRE WISE: Volunteer support officer Grant Mitchel puts out a kitchen fire as Strathmore School students look on.