Be safe, prepare, beware of kitchen fires

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With cooking fires on the rise in Ohio, the State Fire Marshal’s office is teaming with the National Fire Protection Association for Fire Prevention Week Oct. 4-10 to remind Ohioans of the simple but important actions they can take to stay safe in the kitchen.

According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and associated injuries in the United States. In Ohio, cooking fires have seen an increase in recent years with 2,129 in 2019 and 2,368 so far in 2020.

“So many of these often-preventable fires are caused by unattended cooking, placing combustibles too close to the stovetop and forgetting to turn off burners,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon. “Small actions such as staying in the kitchen, setting a timer and avoiding distractions can go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones safe.”

Just as important as taking safety precautions to minimize the risk of fire is having adequate property insurance if fire damage occurs. Read your policy and conduct a review with an insurance agent to ensure you have appropriate amounts of coverage to repair or rebuild your property, and for your personal possessions.

Ohioans in need of educational insurance information can visit and contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 with questions.

Marshal Reardon and the NFPA offer these tips for preventing cooking-related fires:

Watch what you heat

• Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling.

• Check food regularly if simmering, baking or roasting.

• Use a timer as a reminder to check your food.

• Keep anything that can catch fire away from stovetop.

• Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.

• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around cooking equipment.

• Never hold a child while cooking or carrying hot foods or liquids.

• Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops.

Prevent kitchen fires

• Heat cooking oil slowly to avoid burns from spattering grease.

• Turn off the stove or oven when finished using it.

• Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.

• Make sure appliances are off before going to bed or leaving home.

Be prepared for a fire

• Keep an ABC multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby.

• Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

• If a cooking fire starts, turn off the stove or burner and put a lid on the pan to stop it.

Have working smoke alarms in your home.

• Prepare an escape plan and practice it twice a year. Have a common meeting place and know two ways out of every bedroom.

For more information visit . Also, for fun and educational fire safety activities, visit Sparky’s Fun House at .

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