Kitchen fires are the focus of Fire Prevention Week 2013
(NC)— Recent statistics show that across North America, cooking was involved in 156,300 home fires that caused more than 470 deaths, 5,390 injuries and $1 billion in property damage. This is why the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council are taking aim at preventing kitchen fires during this year's Fire Prevention Week running from October 6-12.
"Kitchen activity is the number one cause of home fires, so we need to warn and educate families,” says Stephen Gamble, a fire chief and president of the CAFC. “Working with teachers and fire departments we will give families the recipe they need to prevent kitchen fires and to escape safely if one occurs.”
The CAFC, with support from its partner organizations, will send educational materials via Scholastic right into primary classrooms. Teachers can follow lesson plans and give kids 'homework' to be done with their parents. Contests during this time will encourage participation – and classroom visits by local firefighters are also popular during Fire Prevention Week.
Key kitchen safety pointers include:
• Never leave the room when you are cooking and keep pot handles turned in.
• Keep anything flammable away from the stove, including your clothes.
• Don't use the oven or stovetop if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol or used drugs.
• If a small grease fire starts, slide a lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
"An escape plan is also essential," Gamble says. "When a smoke alarm sounds, everyone needs to calmly know what to do and where to go. Planning two ways out of each room greatly increases your chances of getting out safely."
Carol Heller is a home fire safety specialist with Kidde Canada, a leading company in the design and manufacture of smoke and monoxide alarms. She adds two additional tips.
“If you've taken down your smoke alarm or removed the batteries because of a false alarm, it won't be working when you need it most. So as part of creating an escape plan with your kids, also make sure smoke alarms are installed and fully powered on every storey of your home.
"And remember that smoke alarms wear out, so do replace them every 10 years whether they are battery operated or hardwired into your home's electrical system.”
Kidde is a major partner in the CAFC's Fire Prevention Week campaign. A free home escape plan template, contest details and more kitchen safety tips can be found online at www.safeathome.ca/recipe.
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