Submitted by Chris Weniger, Hillsborough Fire Marshal
It's time for Fire Prevention Week, and from Oct. 6-12 the Hillsborough Bureau of Fire Safety is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association to remind local residents to "‘Prevent Kitchen Fires."
During this year's fire safety campaign, fire departments will be spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires—most of which result from unattended cooking—and teaching local residents how to prevent kitchen fires from starting in the first place.
According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.
Often when we're called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes, sadly, that's all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach folks in the community before they've suffered a damaging lesson.
Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling 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.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
- When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
- Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
- Have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.