MIKE FROELICH Enlarge
The National Fire Protection Association reports that from 2006 to 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 157,300 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment per year.
These fires caused an average of 380 civilian fire deaths, 4,920 civilian fire injuries, and $794 million in direct property damage.
Overall, cooking equipment caused 42 percent of reported home fires, 38 percent of home fire injuries, 15 percent of home fire deaths, and 11 percent of the direct property damage in reported home fires during this period.
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve.
THESE FIRES ARE PREVENTABLE
What can you do to protect yourself from cooking fires? Here are 8 steps to safe cooking:
1. Watch what you heat.
2. Stay alert.
3. Keep things that can catch fire away from heat.
4. Know what to do if you have a cooking fire.
5. Keep kids away from cooking area.
6. Prevent scalds and burns.
7. Install and use cooking appliances safely.
8. Have working smoke alarms.
If you are frying or grilling or broiling:
1. Stay in the kitchen while the food is cooking.
2. Turn off the stove if leaving the kitchen, even for a short time.
If you are simmering, basting, roasting or broiling:
1. Stay in the home or apartment so that it is possible to periodically check the food
2. Turn off the stove or appliance if leaving the home, even for a short time
3. Check on the cooking regularly
4. Use a timer for alerting the cook that the food is done or needs to be checked
Avoid cooking when sleepy or drowsy
1. Excessive use of alcohol
2. Mediations that cause drowsiness
3. Illicit drug use
4. If sleepy or drowsy, avoid cooking
Keep things that catch fire away from heat
1. Move anything that can catch fire away from the stove or appliance
2. Keep things that can burn off of the stovetop
3. Don’t store things that burn in the oven, microwave oven or toaster oven
4. Items in the kitchen that are commonly left on the stovetop that can burn are: potholders, oven mitts, bags or packaging, towels or curtains and wooden or plastic cutting boards.
What can you do to prevent a kitchen fire?
Clean up and dress right.
1. Clean food and grease off of burners, stovetops, oven, microwave oven and other cooking appliances.
2. Wear clothing with sleeves that are short, close fitting or tightly rolled up. If your clothes do catch fire, remember to Stop, Drop and Roll and cover your face.
If you are burned, cool a burn with cool water for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes. If you are unsure of the severity, call the fire department.
If you have a cooking fire, if grease is burning and if you can safely do so, cover the pan with a lid, turn off the burner and get everyone out of the house and call the fire department. Close doors when leaving the house to help contain the fire.
If you have a fire in your oven or microwave, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed. If the fire is in your microwave, keep that door closed as well, turn it off and unplug it if it is possible to safely reach the outlet. Call the fire department if you have any concerns. Also - have the oven or microwave checked and serviced before using it again.
Prevent scalds and burns:
1. Place objects so they cannot be pulled or knocked over.
2. Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
3. Use the stove’s back burners to keep hot things further away from young children.
4. Keep hot foods and liquids away from tables and counter edges.
Keep kids away from cooking area
Have a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet from the stove or appliance, areas where hot food or drink is prepared, placed, or carried and never hold a child while cooking, drinking or carrying hot foots or liquids.
Teach children about hot things at a young age that hot things can burn and when children are old enough, teach them safe cooking behaviors.
What else can you do?
Every house or apartment must have working smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms must be present in the following areas:
1. Each sleeping room
2. Outside each sleeping area
3. On every level of a muti-level home
Test each smoke alarm at least monthly. Install a new battery in all conventional alarms at least once a year.
If the smoke alarm chirps, install a new battery. Replace smoke alarm if it is equipped with a 10-year battery
To prevent nuisance alarms during cooking:
1. Move smoke alarms farther away from the kitchen
2. Install a smoke alarm with a silence button
3. If a smoke alarm sounds during normal cooking:
4. Press the silence button if the smoke alarm has one
5. Open the door or window or fan the area with a towel to get the air moving
Do not disable the smoke alarm or take out the batteries.
Consider having a residential sprinkler system installed in your home for the highest level of life safety and property conservation.
If you have further questions, please give us a call, we are here to serve you 24/7.
Your Sylvania Fire Township Department – 419-882-7676.