About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and about 18,300 are injured. Many of them might be alive today if they had only learned what to do if there is a fire.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries. One in eight households will have a cooking fire each year. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
Unattended cooking occurs when a person starts cooking food on the stove and then leaves the kitchen and does not pay attention to the food. A fire can occur quickly when food is left unattended.
Cooking fires can occur quickly. Even a small cooking fire causes considerable damage to the kitchen area due to smoke and heat.
Follow these easy Eight Steps to Safe Cooking:
1. Watch what
When frying, grilling or broiling:
Stay in the kitchen while the food is cooking.
Turn off the stove if leaving the kitchen, even for a short time.
Simmering, basting, roasting or broiling:
Stay in the home or apartment so that it is possible to periodically check the food.
Turn off the stove or appliance if leaving the home, even for a short time.
Check on the cooking regularly. Use a timer for alerting the cook that the food is done or needs to be checked.
2. Stay alert
When a person is not alert, food may overcook and cause a fire.
Control the cooking. Keep anything that may burn away from the heating element on the stove or appliance.
Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
Don’t cook if you are drowsy, have been drinking or are taking medications.
Avoid cooking when sleepy or drowsy.
Avoid excessive use of alcohol, medications that cause drowsiness and illicit drug use.
3. Keep things that can catch fire away from heat
Move anything that can catch fire away from the stove or appliance.
Keep things that can burn off of the stovetop.
Don’t store things that burn in the oven, microwave oven or toaster oven.
Items in the kitchen that can burn include:
Potholders, oven mitts, bags or packaging, towels or curtains.
Clean up and dress right.
Clean food and grease off of burners, stovetops, ovens, microwave ovens and other cooking appliances.
Wear clothing with sleeves that are short, close fitting or tightly rolled up.
For clothing fires remember: STOP, DROP AND ROLL.
If clothing catches on fire, STOP immediately. Walking or running will increase the intensity of the fire.
DROP to the ground and cover the face with hands.
ROLL over and over or back and forth until the fire is extinguished.
Cool the burn with cool water for three to five minutes.
4. Know what to do
if you have a
When in doubt, get out of the house or apartment.
When leaving, close the door to contain the fire.
Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after leaving the house or apartment.
When or if you choose to fight the fire, ensure others are out of the house or apartment.
Ensure there is a clear path to the exit before trying to fight any fire.
Small grease fire in pan on stove burner:
Keep oven mitt and lid that fits the pan nearby, never use water on a grease fire!
Wear oven mitt, smother the fire by carefully sliding the lid over the pan.
Turn off the burner and do not move the pan.
Keep the lid on the pan until the pan is completely cool.
Oven and microwave oven fires:
Turn off the oven, keep oven door closed.
Unplug the microwave oven if it is possible to safely reach the outlet.
Have the equipment checked and serviced before using it again.
5. Keep kids away from cooking area
Have a “kid-free zone” of three feet from the stove or appliance.
Areas where hot food or drink is prepared, placed or carried, should also be kid-free.
Never hold a child while cooking, drinking or carrying hot foods or liquids.
6. Prevent scalds
Place objects to where they cannot be pulled or knocked over.
Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
Use the stove’s back burners to keep hot things further away from young children.
Keep hot foods and liquids away from tables and counter edges.
Keep appliance cords coiled and away from counter edges.
Microwave oven usage:
Never use aluminum foil or metal objects in a microwave oven.
Use only microwave-safe cookware – containers or dishes.
Food heated by microwave oven:
Open microwaved food slowly, away from the face to avoid scald burns.
Hot steam escaping from a container of microwaved food or the food itself can cause burns.
Teach children at a young age that hot things can burn.
When children are old enough, teach them safe cooking behavior.
7. Install and use cooking appliances safely
Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions and code requirements when installing and operating cooking equipment.
Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
8. Have working smoke alarms
Prevent nuisance alarms during cooking, move smoke alarms farther away from the kitchen.
Install a smoke alarm with a silence button.
If a smoke alarm sounds during normal cooking:
Press the silence button if the smoke alarm has one.
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.
Any group(s) that would like to have someone come out and speak about any fire safety topic please contact Chief Bruce Jordan (850) 973-5075 or email:
Information provided by www.nfpa.org.