October 8 – 14, 2023 marks Fire Prevention Week!
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.
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.