GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Fire Department will continue its school fire presentations after more than a three-year hiatus.

The department’s public education specialist, Lisa Eller, will join local firefighters to visit 28 Grand Rapids schools over the next month to educate second-grade classes about basic fire safety.

“We have everything from fire or smoke detector safety to creating and practicing home exit plans and then stop, drop and roll,” Eller said.

The pandemic caused a backlog of smoke detector installation request, according to Don Gerkey, the department’s fire marshal. Between October 2022 and January 2023, the department installed more than 500 free smoke detectors in area homes.

“We’ll come into your home, we’ll install them for free,” Gerkey said. “We’ll review your home with you. We’ll walk through your home, ask you some questions about fire safety tips.”

There has been only one fatal fire in Grand Rapids this year. Gerkey said it was caused by a cooking problem.

Across the country and the state, cooking fires continue to be the leading cause of fires.

“The number one cause of cooking fires is the unattended cooking,” Gerkey said. “So if you’re cooking, stay in the kitchen. Don’t get distracted. If there is something that needs to simmer for a longer time, cook for a longer time, set a time so that you’re aware of that. The other thing is set a 3-foot barrier for everything. So any oven mittens or pizza boxes, even your kids and your pets, set a safe zone of 3 feet away from cooking surfaces.”