The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 100 years — has announced “Cooking safety starts with YOU! Pay attention to fire prevention,” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8-14, 2023. This year’s focus on cooking safety works to educate the public about simple yet important steps to take to help reduce the risk of fire when cooking at home, and keeping everyone at home safe.
According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, with nearly half, 49%, of all home fires involving cooking equipment; cooking is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and related deaths. In addition, NFPA data shows cooking is the only major cause of fire that resulted in more fires and fire deaths in 2014-2018 than in 1980-1984.
“These numbers tell us that more public awareness is needed around when and where cooking hazards exist, along with ways to prevent them,”Lorraine Carli, vice president of the Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA, said. “This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign will work to promote tips, guidelines and recommendations that can help significantly reduce the risk of having a cooking fire.”
Following are cooking safety messages that support this year’s theme:
- Always keep a close eye on what you’re cooking. For foods with longer cook times, such as those that are simmering or baking, set a timer to help monitor them carefully.
- Clear the cooking area of combustible items and keep anything that can burn, such as dish towels, oven mitts, food packaging, and paper towels.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
- Create a “kid and pet free zone” of at least three feet (one meter) around the cooking area and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
Fire Prevention Week takes place throughout North American every October, and is the oldest public health observance on record in the U.S.
Entering its 101st year, the week works to educate people about the leading risks to home fires and ways they can better protect themselves and their loved ones. Local fire departments, schools and community organizations play a key role in bringing the week to life in communities each year and spreading basic but critical fire safety messages.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.