Fire Prevention Week: Safety tips from the FFD

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Florence Fire Department Fire Marshal Ken Carr released a statement about Fire Prevention Week, held October 6 through October 12.

Carr said that the theme for Fire Prevention Week 2013 is "Prevent Kitchen Fires". The below statistics are provided by the National Fire Protection Associations:

  • U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853 million in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires start in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in 34 percent of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for the 58 percent of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16 percent.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.
  • Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires. Nearly half (44 percent) of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2011 were scald burns.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1 percent of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 16 percent of the cooking fire deaths.

Car said that the FFD has responded to approximately 35 residential structure fires with damage so far in 2013. On behalf of the FFD, he provided some simple safety tips to keep families safe:

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the room even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home and use a timer to remind you.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (potholders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging).
  • Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of three feet around the stove.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. If in doubt, get out of the home and call the fire department
  • Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, do not remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department.
  • If an oven fire starts, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department.
  • The FFD wants all residents to be sure that they have working smoke alarms properly placed throughout the home. It is very important to have a home escape plan and practice the plan often.

Learn more about Fire Prevention Week here: http://www.firepreventionweek.org

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