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MOORESVILLE – Mooresville Fire-Rescue has been awarded a $1,000 grant from the N.C. Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund.

The grant is part of the non-profit organization’s annual program to encourage the creation or enhancement of burn injury prevention programs throughout the state. Mooresville was one of five organizations selected for the grants for 2019 to receive this funding.

Mooresville Assistant Fire Marshal T.J. Patton developed the concept for the grant application, titled “Tween Chefs Burn Prevention.”

“This project is focused on providing education and skills ... for safe cooking habits to sixth and seventh grade students,” Patton said. “This is the age where many students are beginning to be home alone for longer periods of time, such as after school, and they may be using stoves, ovens and microwaves without direct adult supervision.”

Nationwide, 35 percent of fires in homes are caused by “cooking-related activities,” including leaving food unattended as it cooks,” Mooresville Fire-Rescue said in a press release.

“In Mooresville, we’ve seen a higher percentage, with nearly 40 percent of fires related to cooking,” the department added.

The North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at the UNC School of Medicine and the burn center at Wake Forest Baptist Health Medical Center have also reported treating an increasing number of teens.

According to the Jaycee Burn Center, french fries being cooked on stoves and Ramen noodles heated in microwaves account for the highest frequency of food-related burn injuries.

“Through the grant, we will be able to purchase materials for take-home educational kits, as well as items to use as we demonstrate and reinforce safe cooking habits,” said Mooresville Fire Marshal Geoff Woolard. “The goal is to provide cooking safety knowledge and related skills early in a ‘tween chef’s’ development that will carry into their young-adult life and years beyond.”

The the grant, the fire department will share the program with students and parents at Mooresville Middle School, Langtree Charter Academy and Pine Lake Prep.

Mooresville Fire-Rescue also received grants from the N.C. Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund in 2016 and 2017. Those funds were used for a Safety Tots program in local daycares and to replace a Sparky the Fire Dog uniform, which has been used extensively by the department in outreach initiatives, according to the release.

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