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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Putting A Lid On Cooking Fires - FPW 2013

Kitchen fires due to cooking oil or grease igniting into flames cause the fastest-spreading and most destructive type of residential fire. It's a statistic that may be surprising: two out of every five fires start in the kitchen.

In hopes of stomping out the growing trend, National Fire Prevention Week is focusing on the kitchen.

It is hope that people won’t have to learn the hard way. If just one fire warning could be given, it could be, “Keep an eye on what you fry!”

Why? Because cooking is the leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The latest statistics from NFPA say U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007 and 2011.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” a reminder that leaving cooking unattended and other unsafe kitchen practices are a recipe for disaster.

Often when the local fire departments & firefighters are called to a cooking-related fire, the residents usally tells them that 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.

Some key points to remember:

• 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 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. Firefighters have seen too many homes destroyed and people killed or injured by fires that could have been easily avoided.

“Prevent Kitchen Fires!” 

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; this is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

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