National Fire Prevention Week: Preventing Kitchen Fires

This week the National Fire Protection Association wants you to be aware of how to prevent kitchen fires.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12, and the National Fire Protection Association 2013 Fire Prevention Week theme is “Preventing Kitchen Fires.”

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, NFPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the leading cause of home fires is from unattended cooking equipment. More fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home. U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007 and 2011, resulting in 400 deaths, 5,080 injuries and $853 million in direct damage.

There are many things that you can do at home to practice fire safety. Here are some statistics and helpful tips to prevent cooking or kitchen fires:

  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1 percent of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 16 percent of cooking fire deaths. Keep all flammable objects such as towels, cookbooks and curtains at least 3 feet from stoves. Wear appropriate clothing. Do not wear long baggy sleeves that could come in contact with flames.
  • Ovens and stovetops account for nearly 75 percent of home cooking fire incidents. Turn all pot and pan handles inward to keep them out of reach from small children. Clean the cooking surface regularly to prevent grease buildup.
  • Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires. Nearly half (44 percent) of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2011 were scald burns.
  • Children under the age of five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.

Prevention is always the best option, but in case of an accident, make sure that your family is prepared in case of an emergency. In addition to practicing and participating in fire drills here at Fermilab, it is also important to practice in-home fire drills with both children and adults.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, the Fermilab Fire Department will display one of their fire engines in the horseshoe in front of Wilson Hall from noon to 1 p.m. Employees should feel free to contact the Fire Department at x3428 if they have any fire prevention questions.

Chuck Kuhn, Fermilab fire chief, and David Esterquest, BSS emergency planner