Ardmore firefighters are observing Fire Prevention Week with a special focus aimed at adults and preventing kitchen fires.
Ardmore Fire Department fire marshal Clyde Ellis says the department is joining the National Fire Protection Association in presenting the special "Prevent Kitchen Fires" emphasis this week.
Ellis calls kitchen fires "dangerous," adding the majority of kitchen fires are preventable.
"Most kitchen fires are the result of unattended cooking. Often, when we're called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes. Sadly, that's all it takes for a dangerous fire to start," Ellis says. "In fact, NFPA research shows cooking is the leading cause of home fires."
Statistics compiled by the nonprofit agency show two of every five residential fires begin in the kitchen.
"More fires start in the kitchen than any other room in the house. And kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fire-related injuries," Ellis explains.
Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. It is an observance that is commonly thought of as time designated to teach children fire safety. And this year is no different. Ardmore firefighters started interacting with the community's children last week when they presented programs in local elementary schools. That effort will continue throughout the month.
But Ellis says this year, local firefighters are also hoping to use the traditional awareness week in a nontraditional way.
"We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach folks in the community before they've suffered a damaging lesson," he says.
Here are the safety tips the AFD is emphasizing:
- 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 the home and use a timer to remind you.
- If you have young children, use the stove's back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets 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.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country.