Has the doorbell rung or someone interrupted you while you were cooking, causing you to forget about what you left sizzling on the stove, only to return and find the kitchen filled with smoke?
If this scenario or a similar one sounds familiar, you may want to think about it a little more because it is likely that you, a friend, or family member has run the risk of having a dangerous fire. Why? Because cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 156,600 cooking-related fires each year. In fact two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.
After a cooking related fire, it is not uncommon to hear the resident say they only left the kitchen for a few minutes. Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. The bottom line is that there’s really no safe period of time for the cook to step away from a hot stove.
The Rock Springs Fire Department and Sparky do not want you or your family to suffer the effects of a cooking fire. We are joining forces with the NFPA and thousands of other fire departments across the nation to commemorate Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12th.
This year’s theme “Prevent Kitchen Fires” reminds us all that leaving cooking unattended and other unsafe kitchen practices are a recipe for disaster.
Sparky asks that you please join us in practicing kitchen safety during Fire Prevention Week and all year. A few key points to remember are:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the room even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
- Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (e.g. potholders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging).
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove.
- If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed.
Never open the microwave door until the fire is completely out. If in doubt, get out of the home and call the fire department.
Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan.
To keep the fire from restarting, do not remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department.
If an oven fire starts, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department.
A cooking fire can quickly turn deadly. Too many homes have been destroyed and people killed or injured by fires that could have been easily avoided. Please heed the cooking safety steps.