STONEHAM — As part of National Fire Prevention Week, Chief Matthew Grafton and the Stoneham Fire Department would like to provide cooking safety tips and are also encouraging everyone to create a home escape plan in the event of a fire.
National Fire Prevention Week, organized by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) begins this year on Sunday, Oct. 4 and ends on Saturday, Oct. 10. The annual campaign seeks to educate and provide the public with valuable safety recommendations and steps they can take to prevent possible fires and react properly in the event of a fire.
The theme of the 2020 National Fire Prevention Week is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” in an effort to remind people of simple but important steps to take in the kitchen to prevent fires and injuries.
According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Unattended cooking is the main cause of kitchen fires and almost two-thirds of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
The NFPA estimates that from 2014-18, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 172,900 home cooking fires per year. These incidents caused a yearly average of 550 civilian deaths, 4,820 civilian fire injuries, and approximately $1 billion in property damage.
“Without the appropriate knowledge, frying, boiling and baking food can go awry quickly. It is crucial that homeowners take the proper precautions to avoid personal harm and property damage from cooking fires,” said Chief Grafton. “National Fire Prevention Week serves as a great reminder of the many ways that residents can drastically reduce the risk of cooking accidents in their home.”
The Stoneham Fire Department wishes to share the following safety tips provided by the NFPA:
- Stand by your pan when cooking. Do not leave food, grease, or oils cooking on the stove unattended.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re cooking.
- Remain in the home while using the stove or oven. If you have to leave, turn the appliance off.
- Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent accidental spills of hot contents.
- Keep flammable objects such as potholders, towels, paper, or plastic bags away from heating elements.
- Create a three-foot “child-free zone” around the stove. Keep children and pets away from the stove while cooking to prevent burns and scalds.
- Avoid wearing loose-hanging clothing that can catch fire. If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop, and roll to put out flames.
- Never discharge a portable fire extinguisher into a grease fire. Put a lid on a grease fire to smother it, then turn off the heat. Baking soda will also work.
- For fires inside an oven or microwave, keep the door closed, turn off the appliance, and call the fire department.
- In the event of a fire, leave the building immediately and call 911. All fires and burns, regardless of size, should be reported to the fire department.
Home Fire Escape Planning and Practice
- Create a home escape plan, and make a map. Share that plan with all members of your household. Designate a minimum of two ways to get out of each room, if possible.
- Teach children how they can escape, should they need to get out of the home on their own.
- Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance away from the home where everyone in your household should meet in the event of a fire.
For more fire safety information and tips visit the NFPA website here.