The Division of State Fire Marshal and the National Fire Protection Association are partnering to celebrate Fire Prevention Week,Oct. 8-14. This year’s campaign, “Cooking safety starts with YOU” aims to raise awareness about the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States, cooking.
Year after year, statistics have shown that cooking is the primary cause of home fires, accounting for a staggering 49% of all U.S. home fires. Unfortunately, unattended cooking tops the list as the leading cause of cooking fires and fire-related fatalities. These alarming numbers underscore the need for continuous efforts to better educate the public about staying safe when cooking.
“A cooking fire can grow quickly. I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented. It’s crucial that we take responsibility for our actions in the kitchen to protect our loved ones and our homes,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon.
The State Fire Marshal’s Fire Prevention Bureau created a ‘Preventing Kitchen Fires’ video to help Ohioans keep safe while cooking. To reduce the risk of cooking fires and promote safer practices, the bureau offers the following key safety tips:
· Watch what you heat: Always keep a close eye on what you are cooking. Set a timer to remind you that you are cooking, and never leave the kitchen unattended while appliances are in use.
· Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove: Prevent accidents by keeping pot handles out of reach and away from the edge of the stove. Always have a lid nearby when cooking, so you can quickly smother a small grease fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the burner.
· Establish a kid- and pet-free zone: Maintain a clear zone of at least 3 feet around the stove or grill and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried. This simple step can prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your family members and pets.
“This Fire Prevention Week, let’s all take a proactive approach to cooking safety,” said Fire Prevention Bureau Chief Anita Metheny. “By not losing focus in the kitchen, and implementing these fire safety practices, we can significantly reduce the risk of cooking-related fires and injuries in our homes.”
As part of the campaign, the Fire Prevention Bureau is conducting its annual statewide fire safety poster contest to recognize individuals who have demonstrated an understanding of the issues related to fire safety education and who have shown the ability to visually portray that knowledge. The contest will take place during Fire Prevention Week to help emphasize and support local fire safety education efforts. Posters must include a fire prevention theme, this year’s theme “Cooking safety starts with YOU” or another appropriate message. The contest is open to all Ohio elementary school children in two grade categories: K-3 and 4-6. The twelve winning posters will receive a special recognition by the State Fire Marshal’s office.
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week and fire prevention in general, visit com.ohio.gov/fire