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The Scoop

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File / The Journal Gazette
This house in Huntertown was destroyed in 2000 by a kitchen fire.

Fire prevention tips can save more than dinner

Statement issued Wednesday:

FORT WAYNE, IND., September 28, 2011 – In recent weeks, the Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) has responded to numerous reported kitchen fires. Because of this surge, and with Fire Prevention Week right around the calendar corner (October 9-15), FWFD like to remind citizens of simple kitchen fire prevention tips. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.

It’s a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and more than 20,000 are injured. Cooking is the leading cause of home fire in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of injuries. Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates dramatically.

•Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year. Consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm, which is sealed so it cannot be tampered with or opened.

•Never leaving cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.

•Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all small appliances are turned off.

•Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.

•Don’t cook if you’re under the influence of alcohol, taking a medication that causes drowsiness, or are fatigued.

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

•Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames and heating elements.

•Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.

•Heat oil gradually to avoid burns from spattering grease.

•If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it, or use baking soda or a fire extinguisher. Never throw water on a grease fire.

•Don’t try to move or carry a pan in which there is a hot grease/grease fire. Even though moving the pan is common reaction when a grease fire is discovered, it often results in burns to the carrier and additional fire damage.

So when should you call 911, and when should you try to fight a fire yourself? While fire extinguishers and baking soda can put out small fires when used properly, kitchen fires can spring up quickly and spread even faster. In the event of a fire, never hesitate to call the fire department. You should also be sure to get your family out of the house. Remember safety first: Keep yourself and your family protected, and call 911 for help.

For more information about kitchen fires, visit www.fortwaynefiredepartment.org or call Stacey Fleming at 260-427-1102.

Send items for The Scoop to jgnews@jg.net.

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