Prevent Cooking fires: Watch What You Heat

This year, Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14. It is the 85th event, making it the longest-running health and safety observance on record.

The fire department is joining forces with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind us of danger in the kitchen: the possibility of a cooking fire.

Safety advocates are spreading the word on the dangers of cooking fires, most of which result from unattended cooking.

According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. One out of three home fires begins in the kitchen, more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.

When called to a fire that started in the kitchen, firefighters say the residents often tell them that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes. Sadly, thatís all it takes for a fire to start. Safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing during Fire Prevention Week include:

* Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.

* If you must leave the room, even for a short period, turn off the stove.

* When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly. Stay home and use a timer.

* If you have young children, use the stoveís back burners whenever possible.

*Keep young children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.

* When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.

* Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.

* Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.