Firefighters urge kitchen safety for fire preventionPublished 5:24pm Friday, October 4, 2013
Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed at the beginning of October, with each year featuring a different theme. Fires kill an average of seven people in the U.S. every day,
This year, the theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”
“Kitchen fires are the No. 1 cause of structure fires, and typically it is from unattended cooking,” said Capt. Craig Clark with the Alexander City Fire Department. “A lot of people, when they are frying things, will turn their burners on high to speed it up. That is a no-no.”
Clark said this can be a recipe for disaster, especially if the chef steps away.
“Once that oil gets hot enough, it reaches an ignition temperature and emits vapors that can sustain burning. When this happens, all it needs is an ignition source.”
Clark said the oil can continue to heat past this range to a more volatile temperature.
“It can reach an auto ignition temperature where it doesn’t even need an ignition source,” Clark said. “Don’t ever turn any oil on high. Keep it on medium to medium high, where it won’t be in a position to ignite if your forget about it.”
Clark offered other tips to be fire safe in the kitchen.
“Loose clothing, especially on gas stoves, can catch fire when you lean over the range,” Clark said.
A fire extinguisher should also be easily accessible near the cooking area, Clark added.
“It is always good to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, put between the most likely place for a fire – and oven or stovetop – and your way out,” Clark said. “You don’t want to have to go past the fire in order to extinguish it.”
While it extends past kitchen fire safety, Clark also advises citizens to be careful this winter with space heaters. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and fire injuries.
“Space heaters needed to be placed three feet away minimum from anything combustible,” Clark said.
For more information on how to be fire safe, visit http://www.nfpa.org/.