It’s no secret that food brings people together. Spending time in the kitchen can be a fun way to bring family and friends together, whether you’re making a favorite family recipe, baking up a delicious dessert or experimenting with a new ingredient. But the fun can quickly turn to chaos if a fire occurs in the kitchen.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) says cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries.
That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention.” This year, October 8-14 is recognized as Fire Prevention Week.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments in the United States respond to an estimated average of 172,000 home cooking fires each year. Those fires cause an estimated 550 deaths, 4,820 injuries and more than $1 billion in property damage a year.
“To prevent cooking fires, you must stay alert,” says firefighter Michael McLeieer, president of the nonprofit E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety. “You will not be alert if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.”
As you start preparing your next meal and organizing that large family feast, remember to play it safe! E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety, First Alert, the NFPA and USFA have some steps you can take to keep your kitchen and kids safe and prevent fires.
Remain in the Kitchen When Cooking
An adult should remain in the kitchen when anyone is frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.
Stay at home when simmering, baking or roasting food and check it regularly.
Watch what you heat – Use a timer when cooking to help ensure you don’t lose track of the time. This is an especially important kitchen fire safety tip for beginner cooks.
Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so that no one can bump the pot or pull it over.
Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby while cooking. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire as this will put the fire out.
Keep the Kitchen Free from Clutter
Remove items that do not belong in the kitchen and avoid any additional fire hazards.
Be mindful of kitchen materials that are flammable and can easily start fires such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels, curtains or even excess food packaging and keep them away from the stovetop or other cooking surfaces.
Give everything a specific place in the kitchen to help reduce the risk of it being left out and catching fire, ensuring the kitchen remains a safe place.
Unplug or Turn Off Appliances
Unplug any countertop appliances when they are not in use, like toasters and coffee makers. This will help reduce the risk of a fire starting.
Turn off the appliance you are using as soon as you are finished cooking your food.
Clean off leftover dust, food crumbs and grease from your stovetop after use.
Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms
Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home including in the basement.
A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month, replace 9-volt smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and replace alarms every 10 years.
Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms to provide a minimum level of protection.
Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home for the best protection so that when one alarm sounds, they all sound. When you hear a smoke alarm, you may have less than 2 minutes to get everyone outside and safe. Call 9-1-1 once outside and at the pre-designated meeting place (tree, neighbor’s house, etc.).
Make sure everyone can hear the sound of the smoke alarm anywhere in the home.
For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, install smoke alarms with alert devices (pillow or bed shaker or a flashing strobe light).
Install smoke alarms away from the kitchen to prevent nuisance alarms. They should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
Create a Kid-Free Zone Around Your Stove While Cooking
Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto a burner.
By following these safety tips, you will have a delicious and fire-safe meal!
Here are our television and radio broadcasts promoting Fire Prevention Week 2023
Maranda visits the Coopersville Polkton Fire Department in Ottawa County to learn from experts about the 2023 Fire Prevention Week theme which focuses on safe cooking. – 10-05-2023 11:45 a.m and 3:45 p.m.
WILX News 10 interviews the PIO for Michigan MABAS, Michael McLeieer near Lansing, MI about the 2023 Fire Prevention Week theme. – 10-08-2023 6pm
Fox 17‘s Max Goldwasser interviews E.S.C.A.P.E.’s president and founder firefighter Michael McLeieer about the 2023 Fire Prevention Week theme. – 10-09-2023 7:20 a.m.
WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 Morning Show Host Ken Lanphear interviews E.S.C.A.P.E. founder Michael McLeieer about Fire Prevention Week 2023 – 10-09-2023 8:15 a.m.
10-09-2023 – Max Goldwasser expands his fire safety interview during the 9 am hour after 2 children died in an overnight house fire in the City of Kalamazoo.
10-10-2023 10 a.m. – Michael McLeieer visits the Fox 17 Morning Mix to share fire prevention tips.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc., an award-winning fire safety organization is teaming up with AARP Michigan, WOTV 4 Women, the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®), First Alert®, the National Volunteer Fire Council and the Michigan fire service for Fire Prevention Week 2020. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!™ The campaign runs from October 4-10 and works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. “Cooking fires are preventable,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of the non-profit charity E.S.C.A.P.E. “It’s important that people stay in the kitchen when they are cooking, use a timer as a reminder when the food is done and avoid distractions such as electronics or televisions. These are some of the important steps everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes,” according to McLeieer.
A cooking fire can grow quickly. Each year many homes are damaged and people are injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. and AARP Michigan offer this recipe for Fire-Safe Cooking.
Keep an eye on what you fry. Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
Stand by your pan. If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
You have to be alert and awake when cooking. Alcohol and some drugs can make you sleepy.
Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so no one can bump them or pull them over.
Have a “kid-free and pet-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
To learn more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities Where You Live, please contact your local fire department. For more information about cooking fire prevention, visit www.nfpa.org/fpw or www.escapeinc.org.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc.(SM), an award-winning non-profit fire safety organization headquartered in Kalamazoo has formed an exclusive partnership with First Alert® with the goal of eliminating home fire deaths across Michigan through the new campaign called “Keeping Michigan S.A.F.E.”(Smoke Alarms For Everyone).
First Alert is the most trusted and recognized fire safety brand in America. For more than 60 years, First Alert has designed and developed innovative safety solutions including a comprehensive line of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and escape ladders to protect what matters most.
“For over a decade, Michigan continues to lead the country in civilian fire deaths. This exclusive partnership will allow us to provide the resources and education that firefighters throughout Michigan are able to utilize in their local communities and reverse this deadly trend,” according to firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. and immediate past president of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association.
White Pigeon firefighters (left) and Michigan State Firemen’s Association Executive Board (red jackets)
LAPEER, Mich. – Saturday May 19th, four members from the White Pigeon Fire Department in St. Joseph County were presented the 2018 Heroes Award by the Michigan State Firemen’s Association at the 143rd Annual Conference dinner and banquet in Lapeer.
Fire Chief Troy Andrews (with 19 years of service), Lieutenant Jeff Wagaman (with 14 years of service), Firefighter Thomas Law (with 14 years of service), and Fire Cadet Merlin Zehr (with 1 year of service) were recognized for their heroic efforts from a rescue which occurred on January 27, 2018, when a 54-year old man fell through thin ice while fishing. Upon arrival, White Pigeon firefighters noticed the fisherman was in frigid water holding on to the edge of the ice shelf.
White Pigeon firefighters worked together as a team following the Incident Command System and utilizing their frequent training to execute this rescue. Chief Andrews donned the department’s ice and cold water rescue suit, climbed into the water and rescued the hypothermic fisherman.
“These men have it in their heart to serve their community,” said Assistant Chief Tyler Royce, who nominated his brother firefighters for the Heroes Award. “They dedicate countless hours of their own time preparing our department to respond to and mitigate the next emergency,” said Royce.
The Morning Show with Ken Lanphear talks with Firefighter Michael McLeieer of E.S.C.A.P.E. and the Michigan State Firemen’s Association about a new statewide campaign that will prevent home fires, connect families with resources and keep Michiganders S.A.F.E.! If you have questions about smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms or fire safety, please call 1-844-978-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
When was the last time you checked your smoke alarm? Since January 1st, Michigan has experienced 25 fire fatalities and remains a leading state for home fire deaths. These deaths have occurred in homes that did not have working smoke alarms. E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you that properly installed and maintained smoke alarms on every level of your home are the only mitigation devices that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.
Take the opportunity when you move the clocks forward one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday March 11th, to make sure you test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and replace the batteries as needed. Also replace alarms that are over 10 years old.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.
It cannot be stated definitively that one is better than the other in every fire situation that could arise in a residence. Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the United States Fire Administration recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with:
Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR
dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors
In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.
Smoke alarms are powered by a battery or they are hardwired into the home’s electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery. A backup battery is usually present on hardwired alarms and may need to be replaced.
These batteries must be tested on a regular basis and, in most cases, should be replaced at least once each year (except for lithium batteries).
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning, so the U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save. Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke alarms cost between $24 and $40.
Some fire departments offer reduced price, or even free, smoke alarms and may install battery operated smoke alarms in your home at no cost. Contact your local fire department’s non-emergency phone number for more information or e-mail email@example.com for more details on a smoke alarm installation program close to Where You Live!