Troy FD teaches CHHS culinary students about fire safety

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2017

U.S. fire departments estimate that cooking equipment is the cause of 166,000 fires annually, resulting in 480 deaths and $90 million in damages.

Not many people know how to handle a kitchen fire and what to do if one were to start.

Thanks to training by the Troy Fire Department, the students in the Culinary Arts Academy at Charles Henderson High School now know what to do in the event of a cooking fire.

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Paula Shute, academy instructor, said safety is job one at the academy each year.

“Students need to know about kitchen safety and there’s no better way for them to learn than to have hands-on training,” Shute said. “Grease fires are a major cause of kitchen fires. It only takes a few minutes for a grease fire to get out of hand. A fire extinguisher will put a grease fire out quickly but you have to know how to use it.”

Fire extinguishers are readily available at the Culinary Arts Academy but are of little to no use if the students don’t know how to use them.

On Monday, members of the Troy Fire Department visited the Culinary Arts Academy and conducted a class on the proper use of a fire extinguisher.

“A fire extinguisher is simple to use but only if you know how to use it,” Shute said. “The firefighters demonstrated the proper use of a fire extinguisher and then each student demonstrated that they knew how to use one,” Shute said.

Not only did the students learn how to use a fire extinguisher, they also learned the value of having a one in their home kitchens.

“The students learned valuable lessons and we appreciate the Troy Fire Department’s support of the Culinary Arts Academy,”  Shute said.

The lessons the students learned could be put into play at the academy or any other place where a kitchen/cooking fire might erupt, she said.

As part of the academy’s safety program, students will also learn to administer the Heimlich Maneuver to a choking victim and CPR.

“Even though they learn the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR in health class, we go over them, too, because any time food is served there’s the possibility of choking,” Shute said. “And, we all need to know CPR.”

About 90 students are enrolled in the Culinary Arts Academy for the 2017-2018 school year. The academy offers four programs: Culinary Arts I and II, Hospitality and Tourism, and Baking and Pastries.