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Fire Prevention Week - Cooking Safety Starts With YOU!

This year’s Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW™) campaign, “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention™,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when cooking. While cooking brings families and friends together, cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and deaths. What can you do? The good news is you can prevent most cooking fires and burns. Help keep your family safer with some simple but effective tips: 

  • Be Alert! If you are tired or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove!
  • Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that it is cooking. 
  • Keep anything that can catch fireaway from the stove top: oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains. 

If you have a small (grease) cooking fire and decide to fight the fire: 

  • On the stovetop, smother flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If you have any doubt on fighting the fire:

  • Just get out! When leaving, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside the house!

Electrical Cooking Appliance Safety

  • Always use cooking equipment listed by qualified testing laboratory.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions on where and how to use appliances.
  • Remember to unplug all appliances when not in use.
  • Check cords regularly for damage. Do not use any appliance with a damaged cord. 

Slow Cooker - A slow cooker is designed to be left on while you do other things, even things outside the home. Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Keep things that could catch fire away from the slow cooker.
  • Make sure the slow cooker is in a place where it won’t be bumped. If the lid gets dislodged, the liquid could boil away which could cause the appliance to overheat and create a fire. 

Pressure Cooker - A pressure cooker is designed to cook food faster than a stovetop or oven. Because it uses hot steam and pressure to cook food, it is important they are used properly to prevent burns.

  • Place the cooker in an open space to give enough room for the steam to ventilate.
  • Never cover the steam release valve on the pressure cooker.
  • Do not leave the home when using a pressure cooker.

Air Fryers: 

  • Give your air fryer enough space. The air vents release heat and need airflow.
  • Do not leave the home when using the air fryer.
  • Make sure you clean grease and food debris after every use. Unplug and allow to cool completely before cleaning.

Hot Plate, Griddle & Electric Skillet: 

  • Stay with the hot plate, griddle or electric skillet while cooking.
  • Do not touch the surface of a hot plate, griddle or skillet, as it can burn you.
  • Unplug a hot plate, griddle or electric skillet when not in use and before cleaning. Allow appliances to cool before cleaning it.

Microwaves - Only use microwave safe food containers or dishes- never use aluminum foil or metal in a microwave oven. If you happen to have a fire in the microwave, keep the door closed. Turn it off and unplug it from the wall. If the fire does not go out, get outside and call the fire department.

  • Purchase a microwave that is listed by qualified testing laboratory and complete and return the registration card in case there is a recall.
  • Plug the microwave directly into the wall outlet, never use an extension cord.
  • Make sure the microwave is at a safe height, within easy reach of all users.
  • Open food slowly, away from your face. Hot steam or the food itself can cause burns.
  • Food heats unevenly in microwaves. Stir and test food before eating or giving to children.
  • Never heat a baby bottle in the microwave. Microwaves heat unevenly causing hot pockets which lead to burns. Warm a bottle in a bowl of warm water or by running it under the tap.

About Fire Prevention Week

Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires. 

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.