Watch What You Heat
By Michael Newbury , 325th Civil Engineer Squadron base fire inspector
/ Published October 05, 2006
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- How often has the doorbell rung or a child interrupted you while you were cooking, causing you to forget about the chicken you left sizzling on the stove until smoke filled the house?
If this scenario or a similar one doesn't sound familiar, you may want to think about it more because it's likely that you, a friend or family member has run the risk of starting a dangerous fire.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The latest statistics from NFPA show that one out of every three home fires started in the kitchen, and more than 100,000 fires a year are related to cooking.
The Tyndall fire and emergency services is joining forces with NFPA and thousands of other fire departments across the nation to commemorate Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8-14. The theme, "Prevent cooking fires - watch what you heat," reminds everyone that leaving cooking unattended and other unsafe kitchen practices are a recipe for disaster.
When firefighters are called to a cooking-related fire, the residents often tell them they only left the kitchen for a few minutes. Sadly, that's all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. The bottom line is that there's really no safe period of time for a cook to step away from a hot stove. A few key points to remember are:
·Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling or boiling 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 your home and use a timer to remind you.
·Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles such as pot holders, 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 house and call 911.
·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 and call 911. Do not remove the lid; doing so will cause the fire to rekindle. Never pour water on a grease fire. If the fire does not go out, get out of the house and call the 911.
·If an oven fire starts, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. Get out of the house and call 911.
A cooking fire can quickly turn deadly. Heed these simple safety rules. Firefighters would like to be in your kitchen, but only when you invite us for dinner!
In support of National Fire Prevention Week, Tyndall Fire and Emergency Services will be present in the Base Exchange daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9 - 13. Firefighters will be present to provide information and answer questions to help keep your home and family safe from fire.
Fire prevention personnel will be conducting fire safety classes and passing out fire prevention material from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 9 -11 at Tyndall Elementary School; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Tyndall Youth Center; and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 13 at the Child Development Center. They will also conduct fire evacuation drills with the use of their fire safety trailer for children attending Tyndall Elementary School.