October 5, 2020. The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years —is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
“We know cooking fires can be prevented,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice-president of outreach and advocacy. “Staying in the kitchen, using a timer, and avoiding distractions such as electronics or TV are steps everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes.”
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires involving cooking equipment. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
NFPA and the New Orleans Fire Department want to share safety tips to keep you from having a cooking fire.
- Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
- Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
- Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
- Loose clothing can hang down onto stove burners and catch fire. Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit www.fpw.org.
Continue reading below for additional tips on maintaining fire safety in your home.
• Smoke alarms detect and alert people to a fire in the early stages. Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire.
• Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
• Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
• Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
Home Fire Escape Planning and Practice
Home fire escape planning should include the following:
• Drawing a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
• Going to each room and pointing to the two ways out
• Making sure someone will help children, older adults, and people with disabilities wake up and get out
• Teaching children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them
• Establishing a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet after exiting
• Having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms
• Pushing the smoke alarm button to start the drill
• Practicing what to do in case there is smoke: Get low and go. Get out fast.
• Practicing using different ways out and closing doors behind you as you leave
• Never going back for people, pets, or things
• Going to your outdoor meeting place
• Calling 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone
• Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.
• Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires.
• All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from heating equipment.
• Have a 3-foot (1-metre) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Purchase and use only portable space heaters listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
• Have a qualified professional install heating equipment.
• Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.