We Salute Our Firefighters

Our staff writer Elizabeth Ayson, the mother of two firefighters, poses while on assignment.

Maui has faced an unusually high number of fires this year. And our firefighters have valiantly fought and contained these fires, risking their own lives to protect our homes and land.

One of our firefighters’ many responsibilities is training and education. When I was working at one of the hotels on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, we received training from the fire department on what to do if we ever had a fire in the kitchen.

Luckily, I was very attentive during that training because sometime after, I was cooking with a wok with a lot of oil. I was multi-tasking and the oil over heated and started to catch fire. Our previous training on ways to extinguish different types of fire paid off. I remembered that with an oil fire, one never uses water to try to extinguish the fire so I immediately covered the wok and fire with the wok’s metal cover.

Whew! I still remember to this date the anxieties I felt at the time.

I am forever grateful to the training from the firefighters and in turn, my employees have also learned what to do in case of a kitchen fire.

I encourage all restaurant and business owners to reach out to the fire department for training on the prevention and extinguishing of different kinds of fires. Believe me, it will be a valuable investment and it’s never too early. As Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The 2019 Fire Prevention Week was celebrated from October 6 through 12 with the theme “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice Your Escape!”. It is never too late to practice fire prevention … and it is never too late to recognize our heroes who are firefighters … who we owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid—an utang na loob.