During Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14), the American Red Cross reminds everyone that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and issues safety steps to follow to help avoid one of these blazes.
Follow these 10 steps to help stay safe while cooking:
1. If you are frying, grilling, or broiling food, never leave it unattended — stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
2. Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
3. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting, or broiling food, check it regularly.
4. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
5. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
6. Keep anything that can catch fire — potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains — away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
7. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
8. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
10. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.
The American Red Cross is installing free smoke alarms in homes across the country in October.
Download the Red Cross First Aid app for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. Find all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.