National Fire Prevention Week: Fire Safety Tips

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has sponsored Fire Prevention Week. This annual event is used to promote and educate the public on fire safety and fire prevention. The fact that there is a weekly event sponsored by such a well-known organization highlights the need to spread awareness about fire safety and fire prevention.  

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When it comes to fires, one of the main culprits is your stove or oven. Fire safety when cooking or baking is, obviously, of the utmost importance. You should never cook or bake when you are sleepy or under the influence of alcohol simply because you don’t want to fall asleep if there is something cooking on your stovetop or baking in the oven.  

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Along the same lines, make sure you stay in the kitchen when you are roasting, simmering or baking food. While it might be tempting to let the food cook as you take care of other tasks around your house, this is not a good idea. If the food boils over or if something outside of the pan ignites during the cooking process, you need to be able to respond to this emergency quickly. (The leading cause of kitchen fires is food that is left unattended while cooking.)

This underscores the need for a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Make sure it is stored somewhere readily available, and make sure everyone in your home who cooks or bakes knows how to use it.

Small grease fires can be put out by smothering the flames with a metal lid. Turn off the burner as soon as possible and leave the pan alone until it is completely cool. If there is a small fire in your oven, turn off your oven and keep the door closed until the fire is out.

Of course, if you have any doubt about fighting a fire, even if it’s “just” a small one, evacuate everyone, shut the door to the kitchen behind you (that will help contain the fire) and call 911 immediately.

Keep anything that’s flammable away from your stovetop. This includes utensils, oven mitts, food packaging, hand towels, paper and anything else that could start a fire. Small children should be taught never to touch the oven, and they should be told to stay at least three feet away from it at all times, even when it is not being used.

Fire prevention starts at home. Use common sense, teach your kids to stay away from the stove and make sure you having a working fire extinguisher in case you need it.

Sara L. Fisher independently authors articles for SEM clients like the Minnesota fire suppression and fire monitoring service Brothers Fire & Security: http://www.brothersfire.com. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only and not those of any other person, company or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness or use of the content herein. Call Brothers Fire & Security for more information on fire suppression and fire monitoring at 1-800-607-2767.