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National Fire Prevention Week - Fire Safety in the Kitchen

The NIH Fire Marshal is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years - to promote this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Serving up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!" This effort is even more important now, with many of us spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To illustrate the significance of cooking fires, which are the leading cause of home fires, here are some U.S. statistics from the NFPA for 2018:

  • 170,100 cooking fires.
  • 540 deaths.
  • 4,400 injuries.

The NIH Fire Marshal wants to share the following safety tips to help prevent cooking fires.

  • Before you turn on the heat, move dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper, curtains and anything else that can burn away from the stove.
  • 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 need to be alert when cooking. You won't be alert if you are sleepy or have consumed medicine, drugs, or alcohol that can make you drowsy.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • 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.
  • If you choose to have a fire extinguisher at home, use an ABC rated type, know how to operate it safely, and always dial 911 and alert other occupants before using it.

To find out if your town will be hosting Fire Prevention Week programs and activities, please contact your local fire department or fire marshal. For more general information about Fire Prevention Week, visit

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