While Fire Prevention Week was October 4-10, the entire month of October is dedicated to raising fire safety awareness. This year’s theme from the National Fire Protection Association is “Serving Up Safety in the Kitchen” as cooking is the lead cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S. In honor of the month, we’ve gathered a few tips to help you make sure you’re kitchen is as safe as can be.
1. Keep your kitchen clutter-free. If something isn’t specifically made for the kitchen, remove it to reduce potential fire hazards. Also, be aware of what kitchen related items you have that could be fire hazards - wooden spoons, potholders, towels, and excess food packaging. Essentially, make sure your kitchen stove and the area around it are free from anything that could cause a fire and be careful while cooking with these items.
2. When appliances are not in use, unplug them! Items that are plugged in are still drawing power, so if there’s an energy surge you run the risk of a small fire that could spread quickly.
3. Have fire essentials on hand. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen so you can grab it immediately if needed. Also remember that smoke alarms should be on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside of sleeping areas. DO make sure that smoke alarms are at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances so they don’t go off every time you make something and though it may be tempting to temporarily disable your alarms if you cook something that’s super smoky, it’s a bad idea as you might forget to re-able it.
4. Finally, always remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking. If you are simmering, roasting, baking or frying food on the stove or oven, it is important that an adult remains in the kitchen at all times to keep an eye on the food so it does not burn. You should also use a timer when cooking to help ensure you don't lose track of time.
These few simple things will help to greatly reduce your chances of having a kitchen fire, thus keeping your family and home safe. But don’t stop there this Fire Prevention Month! Be sure to check all your smoke alarms to make sure they’re still working properly and come up with or go over your family’s fire escape plan.
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