Jackson Township Spotlight: Remember fire safety when working in kitchens

Indol Moore
Jackson Township

The week of Oct. 4-10 marked Fire Prevention Week, and this year’s theme was Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.

According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association, 63% of house fires started in the kitchen area and caused 21% of all house-fire-related deaths and 45% of reported fire injuries.

Indol Moore

Thinking through a fire scenario in your house before it occurs could give you just enough time to make a difference between a flareup and a life-altering blaze. You usually have 30 to 45 seconds to extinguish a fire before it gets out of control.

Given that every second counts and we, by human nature, tend to panic, the flames could be out of control before you know it.

This should be emphasized: Always remember to check smoke detectors for proper operation.

Here are some other suggestions to follow:

• Do not leave food cooking unattended. Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of kitchen fires. Everybody has a lot going on, like texting, watching television or the children while trying to cook.

• Keep your kitchen clean.

• Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, broiling or cooking any food, especially fatty and grease-laden ones.

• Turn off the cooking appliance if leaving the kitchen even just a short time.

• Never cook if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol.

• Keep all combustibles away from the stovetop, such as paper towels, wooden utensils, food packaging and oven mitts.

• Keep children, especially small ones, out of the kitchen when cooking, and make sure pan handles are turned away from the front of the stove.

• Wear clothing that is not loose and dangling, such as robes that could ignite from stovetop burners.

If a fire begins in the kitchen:

• Get family members out of the house immediately and call 911 once outside.

• If you try to fight the fire, turn off the heat and try to smother it by sliding the pan lid or a cookie sheet over the top of the pan. Pouring baking soda into the pan also might smother a fire. Never use flour or water, which could cause an explosion.

• For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

• Have an ABC fire extinguisher nearby. The ABC rating system defines the kinds of burning materials each fire extinguisher is designed to fight.

More information about Fire Prevention Week, including videos and activities for children, is available at nfpa.org/fpw.

Jackson Township Fire Department inspector/investigator Indol Moore can be reached at moorei@jacksontwp.org or 614-991-6863.