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Community Focus
by Tom Kiurski

'Facebook arsons' and careless cooks

The Madison, Wis., Fire Department has decided to crack down on kitchen-related calls

By Tom Kiurski

In the past few days, there's been a couple of stories that highlight what I believe are firsts in terms of fire behavior and their consequences.

First, an Iowa woman was arrested for a "Facebook arson." While we all know what arson is, and we are all familiar with Facebook, we may not have seen the terms linked until this recent story.

It seems like a friendship between two women began to disintegrate, leading to some rude remarks left about each other on Facebook.

One woman decided to remove her from her friend list so she could not see the remarks that were being posted. This was the reason that one woman allegedly set fire to the other woman's home at night, with her and her husband home.

Second, the Madison, Wis., Fire Department has decided to crack down on careless cooks.

With cooking fires being the most common cause of unwanted home fires, Madison has taken an unprecedented step to try and cut down on these types of fires. They have adopted a maximum fine of $5,000 for serious kitchen fires and offenders.

This brings up issues that need to be hashed out prior to the penalty process. As we all know, education can be a large part of reducing fire damage.

Hopefully, this plan is in existence already. The next tricky part is to figure out who gets fined. Is the teenager who walks away from a stove as guilty as an intoxicated person who walks away from a stove?

The variables are many and complicated, and I wish them luck in reducing their cooking fires.

Any action taken to reduce the damages of fire has merit. This may be a step to watch and see how it works in Madison. If so, that may be the way to go.

About the author

Tom Kiurski has been in the fire service since 1981. He is the Training Coordinator and Director of Fire Safety Education for Livonia, Mich., Fire & Rescue. He has served as a firefighter/paramedic, engineer and lieutenant prior to his appointment as the training coordinator. He has earned an Associates Degree in Fire Science from Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., a Bachelors Degree in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Tom teaches fire service-related courses at local colleges and fire academies. He has presented at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis seven times, as well as numerous state and local conferences. He has written more than 300 articles on fire safety education and training that have appeared in various fire service publications. Contact Tom at Tom.Kiurski@firerescue1.com.



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