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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Careless Cooking Causes Most Fires, But They’re Easily Preventable


October 6 – 12 is National Fire Prevention Week – take a moment to get ahead of the curve and learn how you can prevent the most common cause of fire: Cooking.
Cooking is, by far, the leading cause of building fires in Minnesota.  Forty-six percent of fires in buildings are caused by careless cooking, far ahead of the second leading cause -- “open flames” like candles, at 10 percent.  The good news is that cooking fires are easily preventable.
Most kitchen fires are caused by unattended cooking, so the simplest way to prevent all these fires is to stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking on the stovetop.  When you cook, stay and look! 
In the case of a stovetop fire, there is a new and simple product out that is very effective in putting them out.  It’s called a “StoveTop FireStop.”  The device is about the size of a tuna can. Installed over the stove, it drops a dry chemical extinguishing agent on the fire when it is flame actuated.               
One StoveTop FireStop quickly put out this fire
StoveTop FireStops can be ordered online or purchased at some hardware stores. They cost less than $50 a pair.
Additonal safety tips about cooking fires from the National Fire Protections Association include:
  • Be on alert!  If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.  If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains – away from your stovetop.

IF YOU HAVE A COOKING FIRE:
  • First get out, then call 9-1-1!!  When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • If you fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and calling 9-1-1, and you have a clear path out yourself.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you are cooking to smother grease fires.  Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.  Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
  • NEVER put water on a cooking oil fire. It will explode.

Visit the links below to view some extraordinary live-fire demonstrations provided by the Saint Paul Fire Department that show you how prevent and survive cooking and other careless fires:  
Learn more about National Fire Prevention Week here.

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