October is Fire Prevention Month. The goal of Fire Prevention Month (and week, October 4-10) is to raise fire safety awareness and educate families, students, and communities. The second week of October was named Fire Prevention Week by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 1922 in commemoration of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. The purpose of providing fire education is to ensure families and communities are prepared for the unexpected and to encourage everyone to practice fire and whole home safety.
This year’s campaign is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.” As a fire damage restoration services provider, The Jones Companies is proud to support their mission. We have seen the great damage fire’s cause firsthand and we take fire prevention seriously.
Here are some fire safety tips we’ve put together to keep your family and home safe.
Kitchen Fire Facts
With cooking being something most of us do often, you would think paying attention in the kitchen would be commonplace – but kitchen fires can break out in an instant. According to Home Cooking Fires and Home Structure Fires reports from NFPA’s, between 2013 and 2017:
- Cooking fires are caused largely in part by unattended pots and pans.
- 2/3 of home cooking fires are caused by ignition of food or cooking materials.
- Incidents with the range contributes to nearly 2/3 of home kitchen fires.
- Frying is the cooking method that is most likely to start a fire.
- Thanksgiving Day is most likely to see a high occurrence of cooking fires with Christmas and Christmas Eve following closely behind.
Kitchen Fire Prevention Tips
There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of a kitchen fire and ruining your dinner and property. Here are some tips to your family and home safe:
- Do not cook if you’ve consumed alcohol or tired.
- Try to keep a clutter-free kitchen. You should keep flammable items a minimum of 3 feet away from cooking areas, including towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils, etc.
- Never leave your cooking unattended, especially if you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling. For other cooking methods such as simmering, baking and roasting, check food regularly and do not leave the house.
- Most fires start when the heat is too high, so if you see smoke or if grease starts to boil, turn the burner off immediately.
- Gently add food to pots and pans to prevent oil from splattering.
- Turn handles toward the back of the stove to prevent them from being pulled or bumped off.
- You should keep a baking sheet or lid nearby to smother a fire.
- Do not wear loose clothes that hang and can ignite if touched to hot surfaces. Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Clean up grease on the stovetop or over that has spilled or splattered to prevent build-up that can catch fire.
- Dispose of grease in an old can, and hot grease should not be thrown in the trash as it can start a fire.
- Do not use your oven for storage.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
What to do in a Cooking Fire
While most kitchen fires are preventable, The Jones Companies understands that accidents can happen. If a fire should break out in your kitchen, do the following:
- Evacuate the house immediately!
- Close the door behind you to contain the blaze.
- Call 9-1-1. Even if you plan to try and extinguish the fire yourself, the flames can quickly become out of control.
- If you attempt to fight the fire, you should ensure everyone else has evacuated the house and you have a clear path to exit quickly.
- Attempt to smother a grease fire with a baking sheet or lid. DO NOT THROW WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! Turn off the stovetop and leave the pan covered until cool.
- If a fire breaks out in the oven, turn off the heat AND DO NOT open the door.
- If a fire starts in your microwave, turn off the microwave AND DO NOT open until the fire is completely out. And, if possible, unplug the microwave.
Fire Safety Awareness is Everyone’s Responsibility
If you take precautions, many kitchen fires are avoidable. Be sure to educate all your family members about fire prevention tips while cooking. If all else fails and you end up having a cooking fire, The Jones Companies will be here to help. We offer fire damage restoration services to help you when you need us most. Contact us today!