Between 2007 and 2011, U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated 156,600 cooking-related fires each year, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853 million in direct damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Unfortunately, home fires remain the third-leading cause of fatal home injuries. Thanks to Illinois farmers and America's Farmers Grow Communities, 64 fire departments in Illinois each received a $2,500 donation to help them better serve their communities.
The $160,000 that was donated to fire departments across Illinois allowed these organizations to purchase critical life-saving items such as turnout gear, breathing equipment, external defibrillators and grain bin rescue equipment.
Thanks to the support of local farmer Debbie Duffle, Hindsboro Fire Department is now able to better serve the community with their $2,500 donation.
"I chose the fire department because the firefighters are all volunteers, and I really appreciate the hard work they do," explains Duffle.
In Douglas County, Hindsboro Fire Department used their funds to help purchase new helmets and turnout gear for volunteer fire personnel.
"We are very grateful for the Monsanto Fund's donation," says Charles Guthridge, Hindsboro Fire Department president of trustees. "With the new equipment we can improve our quality of service to the community."
Here are a few tips to help prevent kitchen fires as folks prepare for the holiday season. The tips are courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop.
America's Farmers Grow Communities gives winning farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit organization in their county. Farmers have helped fund more than 5,200 organizations in rural America through America's Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The program launched nationally in 2011 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states.
Farmers and rural community members can now visit GrowCommunities.com and register to win or submit an idea in need of funding. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural communities.