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(Wed., November 21, 2012) − Fire safety tips from the Honolulu Fire Department.



What to Do Before Making Kalua Turkey

What to Do If You See Smoke


We all love a good Thanksgiving Day meal, and perhaps one of the best is kalua turkey, taro, breadfruit, and sweet potatoes with chicken, pork, or fish laulau.  All of these delicious foods can be cooked in an imu, and Thanksgiving is when more imu fires are lit than any other time on our island.


On a typical day, the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) receives an average of 12 calls to report that an imu fire will be lit.  On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, the number of reported imu fires increases to over 250.  On Thanksgiving Day, that number decreases to about 100, perhaps because preparations more commonly occur the night before.


To help make your Thanksgiving dinner a success, the HFD reminds you to observe the following county fire code requirements:


      1.   Obtain approval from the owner, operator, or manager of the property where you plan to light an imu fire.

      2.   Dig your imu where its fire cannot accidentally spread and create a fire hazard.

      3.   Avoid placing your imu where its smoke will blow into or across homes.

      4.   Notify your county fire department dispatch center prior to lighting your imu fire.  In Honolulu, the number to call is 723-FIRE (723-3473).


If you see smoke from across the valley, down the street, or next door, here are a few tips to follow when you arent sure of its source:


Forests and Fields

Any smoke coming from a forested area or open field should be immediately reported by calling 911.


Around Homes or Buildings

Most folks know what hibachi smoke looks like - small and light in color.  However, if you see a larger amount of smoke, especially if the smoke increases in size and intensity, call 911.  If it is an imu fire, hopefully, the HFD will have been informed, as required, and the dispatcher will let you know.


Try to be as accurate as possible when describing where the smoke is originating.  If it is far away, give the dispatcher your location and the position of landmarks or buildings in relation to the smoke.


Be a Good Neighbor


Whether you are lighting an imu fire or using a small barbecue grill, be considerate of your neighbors.  Place your cooking fire where the smoke will least affect your neighbors.  Consider the wind at the time and where it will push the smoke.  Remember that the elderly and those with health problems can be more sensitive to smoke.


Finally, understand that whether youre only using a small grill at home or you have an imu and informed the HFDs Fire Communication Center, your fire can still be ordered to be extinguished or moved if the responding Fire Captain determines it is a fire hazard or the fires smoke is a nuisance that inconveniences others.




Contact:  Fire Captain Terry Seelig, Public Information Officer, 808-723-7117.