For Immediate Release: October 4, 2013
Insurance Commissioner Wants Families to Get Cooking with Fire Safety
Announces 2013 Fire Prevention Week by declaring Oct. 9 Family Fire Drill Day for North Carolinians
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin launched 2013 Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, by declaring Oct. 9 Family Fire Drill Day and urging everyone to uphold this year’s campaign theme, "Prevent Kitchen Fires."
According to a National Fire Protection Association survey, most fires start in the kitchen, and food is usually the first item ignited in a cooking fire. In 2012, fire departments in North Carolina responded to 8,134 home fires, with 33 percent of those being a direct result of cooking.
"Prevention is the first step in protecting our families from fire," said Goodwin. "Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home injuries. If we always remember to be attentive and alert when cooking, we can help prevent tragedies from occurring."
Follow these fire safety tips in the kitchen:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
- Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- Plug microwave ovens or other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire. Check electrical cords for cracks, breaks, or damage.
Families should create a home fire escape plan and practice it on Family Fire Drill Day, Oct. 9. Find instructions at bit.ly/home-escape.
In addition, the public can help celebrate Fire Prevention Week by attending events in their local communities. Many local fire departments will be holding open houses, giving firehouse tours and visiting classrooms. Visit your fire department’s website or go to www.ncdoi.com/fireprevention for a list of events near you.
Fire Prevention Week
The inspiration behind the national recognition of Fire Prevention Week is the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 9, 1871. Burning for nearly 27 hours, this fire killed more than 250 people, destroyed more than 17,400 buildings and left 100,000 homeless. Forty years later, fire marshals across the country decided to recognize a fire prevention day to educate the public and pass along valuable fire safety messages to prevent another great fire from occurring. Finally in 1922, the nation’s fire officials decided to recognize an entire week in October — whichever week the ninth falls in — as Fire Prevention Week, and to encourage communities to use this time to learn more about preventing such fire tragedies, large and small.