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Serving up a delicious meal can be dangerous. Nearly 50% of all residential fires start in the kitchen. As part of U.S. Fire Administration’s Fire Prevention Safety Week (Oct. 4 - 10), fire safety experts around the nation are focusing on the theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” to help educate and inform people about the dangers of kitchen fires.
Mark Lambert, assistant professor and director, West Virginia University Fire Service Extension, notes that kitchen fires are common and can be dangerous, but there are steps and precautions you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“One third of cooking fires are due to unattended cooking. So, put down your phone, step away from your social media sites and focus on cooking.”
“Kitchen fires also often occur late at night. Maybe you’ve just gotten home from a long shift or you've had a few drinks, and you are making something to eat. A few minutes pass and you’ve fallen asleep or forgotten about the food cooking on the stove. All of the sudden, there’s a fire in your kitchen. More than 25% of individuals killed by cooking fires were asleep at the time. So, it’s important to remain alert and never leave your food cooking unattended for long periods of time.”
“The holidays aren’t that far away, and home fires caused by cooking often peak during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Again, watch what you are cooking and don’t leave your food unattended.”
“Grease fires are extremely common. You’ll be cooking one of your favorite foods and all of the sudden, you have flames and popping. Your first reaction might be to put water on the fire, but that is the worst thing you can do. Never put water on a grease fire. Instead, use baking soda or a damp dish towel to try to extinguish the fire.”
“The absolute most important thing you want to do to protect yourself is to make sure you always have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. And you want to be sure that you store the extinguisher away from the stove.” — Mark Lambert, assistant professor and director, WVU Fire Service Extension
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CONTACT: Tara Curtis
WVU Extension Service
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