FORT KNOX, Ky. — Sparky the Fire Dog sat on bales of hay, regularly hopping off so he and Buzz the Safety Bee could greet children all this week.The two mascots, along with several firefighters, cruised through most of Fort Knox’s community neighborhoods during Fire Prevention Week to educate adults and children about how to prevent house fires.“We had quite a few vehicles that participated in each of the parades this year,” said Michael Patterson, assistant chief of Fire Prevention, Fort Knox Fire & Emergency Services Division.This year’s theme focused on kitchen safety.“What we try to do each year is develop public education by setting up booths, interacting with people, and giving away items focused on the theme,” said Patterson. “So this year we passed out oven mitts and other items people can use for the kitchen.”Patterson explained that the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries is cooking; the leading cause of cooking fires comes from inattention.“We try to remind people to stay in the kitchen while they’re cooking and if there is a fire, to put a lid on the pot to put the fire out, and to keep kids at least three feet away from the stove; it’s really just a lot of simple steps,” said Patterson. “Some people, unfortunately, forget about those simple steps when they’re cooking.”Upon arriving to Fort Knox in March, Patterson said the firefighters were called out to three home fires in the span of two months. Two of those started because of unsafe grilling practices. The third and most severe fire happened when somebody had set a plastic bottle on stove burners that were still hot.“It destroyed the whole kitchen area and the living room,” said Patterson.Patterson said since they have annual obligations to train personnel on fire safety measures, to include conducting fire drills, they taken advantage of the week to weave it into prevention efforts. All three fire stations helped in manning booths and conducting fire drills.The spread of COVID-19 had fire officers concerned about this year’s events.“This year has been really special. With COVID-19 going on, we were kind of worried that we were going to be in HPCON Charlie conditions and be really restricted in what we could do this year,” said Patterson. “Luckily we’re in HPCON Bravo. We’re still maintaining our safety precautions but we’re still able to effectively engage with the community.“This could benefit everybody because they all have their minds on COVID, and this kind of gets their mind off of it and gives them a sense of normality.”Patterson said the parades were the biggest benefit in getting the word out.“All of this brings the community together, but especially the parades,” said Patterson. “The parades have been a tremendous hit.”