Fire District reminds residents about safety in the kitchen
The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District teamed up with the National Fire Protection Association last week to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” For more than 90 years the National Fire Protection Association has served as the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week.
The week’s campaign worked to educate Lehigh residents about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe at home.
According to LAFCRD Public Relations Officer Katie Heck, kitchen fires are a leading cause for fire dispatch calls.
“We respond to calls for service related to smoke or fire in a kitchen about two to three times per week. Some calls are just smoke related or maybe a fire broke out and it was contained,” Heck said. “But the leading cause of these fires is unattended or distracted cooking, so staying safe in the kitchen is an easy step towards prevention.”
Heck also warns that it’s never a good idea to leave any type of cooking device on when not at home or to cook when under the influence.
“You should never start cooking something in the kitchen after a long night of partying. It’s not worth the chance. Order from a service like Uber Eats instead of cooking,” Heck said.
According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44 percent) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66 percent) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
As quoted in a LAFCRD press release, “We know cooking fires can be prevented,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice-president of outreach and advocacy. “Staying in the kitchen, using a timer, and avoiding distractions such as electronics or TV are steps everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes.”
As part of 2020 Fire Prevention Week, the Lehigh Acres Fire District shared a list of safety tips to keep residents safe from cooking related fires.
• Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
• You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
• Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
“Something you never want to do is throw water on a grease fire. Putting a lid over the fire cuts off the oxygen. If you are unable to extinguish the fire, get out of the house immediately and call 911 right away,” Heck added.
Throughout the week, Lehigh Acres firefighters also visited local school’s including Mirror Lakes to talk to kids about fire safety.
The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District will be sharing information and videos throughout October on social media and its kid corner videos, in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Lehigh Acres, contact the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District. For more information on Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit www.fpw.org.