Fire Prevention Week: Serve up fire safety in the kitchen

Steve Hernandez

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 4-10. This year’s theme is “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.” Kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires, and unattended cooking fires are the leading cause of kitchen fires. With more people at home, everyone is cooking more! One ingredient you need every time you cook is safety.

Fire is fast, dark and hot. You only have one to three minutes to escape most fires, so you must be prepared to leave quickly. Fires are preventable. Take some time during Fire Prevention Week to learn how to serve up fire safety in the kitchen. The guidance below comes from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Wear tight-fitting clothing when cooking. Loose-fitting clothing can easily catch fire.
  • Keep pot handles facing inward so pans can’t get knocked to the floor.
  • Teach children to stay three feet away from the stove.
  • Put a lid on stovetop fires. Keep a pot lid handy when cooking to smother stovetop fires. Then turn off the stove.
  • Never use water or a fire extinguisher on a grease fire. Water and extinguishers can spread the fire. Put a lid on a stovetop fires.
  • Keep things that can burn (paper, pot holders, towels, plastic bags) away from the stove.
  • For oven or microwave fires, keep the door closed, turn off the appliance and call the fire department.

Fire Prevention Week reminds us to serve up fire safety in the kitchen for a successful meal!

If there is a fire, remember:

  • Leave the building immediately and call your local emergency telephone number.
  • If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop, cover your face and roll to put out the flames.
  • Most fire victims are hurt trying to fight the fire. Leave firefighting to the professionals.

To keep your home safe from fire:

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly. If the alarms have regular batteries, change them every time you change the clocks.

Steve Hernandez is a lieutenant in the Fermilab Fire Department.