Kitchen a hot spot for home fires, injuries

This is the first of five blogs on fire safety topics during our October observance of Fire Prevention Month.

safe-cooking

Safe cooking practices can help prevent fires and injuries.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. During its Fire Prevention Week observance October 6-12, the National Fire Protection Association focuses on the fact that more fires start in the kitchen than any other part of the home. Take the NFPA’s quiz to find out how much you already know about preventing kitchen fires.

Then read on for some tips to help you practice fire safety in your kitchen.

Cooking safety

Cooking fires can happen quickly and cause significant injuries. Follow these basic tips to improve cooking safety:

  • Never leave any cooking unattended. If you must leave the room, turn the burners off
  • Keep children at least 3 feet from any area where cooking takes place or where hot food or liquids are handled
  • Wear short sleeves or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking; loose clothing or dangling sleeves may catch fire
  • Keep anything that can catch fire  ̶  towels, pot holders, papers  ̶  away from cooking areas
  • Always have a tight-fitting lid near where you use a skillet for frying. Cover a skillet fire with the lid and turn off the burner

Choose the right fire extinguishers

Identify the areas in your home where a fire is most likely to occur, and then store the correct class of extinguisher nearby. Especially consider extinguishers for your kitchen, work areas and grilling locations. Share the locations and how to use each extinguisher with each member of your household.

  • The most versatile fire extinguisher is one listed for several kinds of fires, called an “ABC” or “multi-purpose” fire extinguisher
  • Purchase only those extinguishers tested by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory
  • Purchase an extinguisher that can easily be handled by the member of the household who may use it; do not purchase an extinguisher too heavy to use
  • Use the extinguisher by remembering PASS:

Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side

Practice fire safety, and live in the confidence that if a fire occurs, you and your family are prepared. For more information on fire safety and creative ways to educate your children, visit NFPA’s public information site.

Part 2 – Correctly placed, working smoke alarms save lives

Part 3 – Escape plans critical to surviving a fire

Part 4 – Carbon monoxide: Combustion’s deadly companion

Part 5 – College students may need fire prevention refresher

Submitted by Stephen Dale