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Find ‘One Thing’ for Kitchen Fire Safety

Oct. 5, 2020

A stovetop fire

Thinking about fire safety – especially in the kitchen – can be overwhelming. Do I have a lid in case a grease fire starts? What exactly do I do if there is a grease fire? Are all my towels and potholders far enough away from the stove? One aspect of it alone can produce so many questions, it may be tempting to do nothing at all.

That’s why the State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) is encouraging everyone to focus on just “one thing” in the kitchen. It’s the SFMD’s way of observing this year’s Fire Prevention Week, whose theme is “Serve Up Safety in the Kitchen.” What are some “one things” you can do to serve up fire prevention and safety in your own kitchen? Consider these scenarios:

  • What’s “one thing” you’re doing in the kitchen that may be putting your family at risk? Walking away from something cooking on the stove.
  • What’s “one thing” you can do to prevent a kitchen fire? Staying put while your food cooks.
  • What’s “one thing” you should never do for a grease fire? Throwing water, baking soda or flour on it.
  • What’s “one thing” you should do instead? Put a lid on it. (Then turn off the heat and leave the pan where it is.)
  • What’s “one thing” you can to do protect your kitchen and family from fires? Keep towels, oven mitts and wooden spoons at least three feet from the stove.

If you practice each of these “one things,” you’ll have a pretty good shot at preventing fires in your kitchen – which in turn will protect your whole house and family. That’s because unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential fires each year in Minnesota, and many of them are caused by combustibles being close to the stove. Five people have already died this year in cooking-related fires.

Kitchen fire safety is just one of the focuses of Fire Prevention Week over the years. In fact, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has sponsored Fire Prevention Week annually since 1922. It’s a time when children, adults and teachers can learn how to prevent fires, and how to stay safe in case one happens. We observe Fire Prevention Week during the week of Oct. 9 every year to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire. This devastating fire began on Oct. 8, 1891, and killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 structures.

You and your family can observe Fire Prevention Week this year by focusing on “one thing” you can do in the kitchen to prevent fires. Follow the SFMD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this week for some great ideas. If you try “one thing” every day, you’ll be well on your way to building a new set of kitchen fire safety habits that will keep your house and family safe from fires for years to come.