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Jaw-Dropping Fire Prevention Week: Stunning Revelations, Astonishing Sports Stunts & Dream Jobs!

Jaw-Dropping Fire Prevention Week: Stunning Revelations, Astonishing Sports Stunts & Dream Jobs!

Cooking Safety Starts with You! Pay Attention to Fire Prevention

Graphic courtesy of FEMA

The U.S. Fire Administration reports alarming statistics

The U.S. Fire Administration, an agency of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has released its latest findings on cooking fires in the United States. According to their report, in 2021 alone, fire departments responded to an estimated 170,000 cooking fires, resulting in 135 deaths, 3,000 injuries, and over $494 million in property loss.

Introducing Fire Prevention Week

As a response to these distressing numbers, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has officially designated Fire Prevention Week 2023, occurring from October 8th to 14th, with the theme “Cooking safety starts with you! Pay attention to fire prevention.”

Cooking: A major cause of home fires

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, contributing to nearly half of all incidents involving cooking equipment. It is also the main source of home fire injuries. Notably, unattended cooking has proven to be the primary cause of cooking fires and related deaths. Recent data from NFPA suggests that cooking-related fires and fire deaths have increased compared to previous decades.

The objective of Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week aims to raise awareness about fire safety and protect homes and families. The event encourages individuals to take necessary precautions in preventing cooking fires.

Essential tips to prevent cooking fires

  • Be alert! Avoid using the stove or stovetop if you are feeling sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • Regularly check food being simmered, baked, or roasted, and remain in the kitchen during the cooking process. Utilize a timer to stay aware of cooking time.
  • Keep flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains away from the stove top.

What to do in the event of a cooking fire

  • Get out of the house immediately when a cooking fire occurs, closing the door behind you to contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after leaving the premises.
  • If you attempt to extinguish the fire, make sure everyone else is evacuating, and you have a clear exit route.
  • For small grease fires, use a lid to smother them by sliding it over the pan and turning off the stove. Keep the pan covered until it cools down completely.
  • In the case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and leave the oven door closed.

Safety precautions when cooking with oil

  • Always remain in the kitchen while frying on the stovetop.
  • Pay close attention to the frying process. If you notice smoke or the oil emitting a strange odor, turn off the burner and carefully remove the pan. Smoke indicates the oil is too hot.
  • Gradually heat the oil to the desired temperature for frying or sautéing.
  • Gently add food to the pot or pan to avoid oil splatters.
  • Keep a lid beside your pan while cooking. In the event of a fire, cover the pan with the lid and turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid, as the fire may rekindle. Allow the pan to cool for an extended period. Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water.
  • If the fire persists or you feel uncomfortable handling it, evacuate your home immediately and call the fire department from a safe location outside.

The importance of fire and smoke detectors

Your safety is further ensured by having adequate fire and smoke detectors throughout your home. These devices provide early alerts in case of emergencies, giving you ample time to evacuate. First Alert, a renowned brand for fire and carbon monoxide products, advises installing smoke and CO alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, as well as inside and outside each bedroom. It is crucial to regularly test and change the batteries in these alarms every 6 months, along with replacing the alarms themselves every 10 years.

The role of fire extinguishers

Keeping fire extinguishers readily accessible on each level of your home, especially in the kitchen and garage, can help prevent small fires from escalating and causing extensive damage.

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