Fire Prevention Month Ends with 31 Cooking Fires…and Counting
October 28, 2011
The City of Madison Fire Department Community Education Unit completed its Fire Prevention Month activities in the City's elementary schools this week, after reaching out to more than 8,000 school children with safety and prevention messages.
In that same period of time, City firefighters responded to 31 cooking fires, enough for one every day of the month, but of course three days remain in October.
The epidemic of careless cooking fires prompted the Community Education officers to introduce kitchen safety as a topic for this year's elementary school programming.
Children were encouraged to stay out of the kitchen "hot zone," an area three feet in front of the stove. Emphasis was also placed on making sure a grownup is in the kitchen whenever the stove is on.
Inattentive cooking, and cooking under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol make up the vast majority of cooking-related fires.
The City of Madison Fire Department has pledged to reduce the number of cooking fires in the City. Since 2007, the City of Madison has recorded a single fire fatality. The cause of that fire was careless cooking.
The Department reminds residents:
Cooking equipment fires are the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries. These fires accounted for 40% of all reported home structure fires and 36% of home civilian injuries.
•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.
•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 are cooking.
•Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire:
•Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
•Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
•If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
•Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
•For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947