Andy Cleek shows students from Sullivan Elementary School how to use a fire hose at the Sullivan West Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday. Fourth-graders toured the fire hall as part of their Fire Prevention Week program. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Fire Prevention Week has officially started, and the Kingsport Fire Department has chosen to focus on the cause of most home fires — cooking.
Using the theme, “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” KFD has partnered with the National Fire Protection Association to help spread the word of the dangers of kitchen fires.
“Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires in the United States,” said Barry Brickey, KFD public education officer. “Usually, somebody leaves food unattended.”
Throughout the week, fire department personnel will talk about the dangers of kitchen fires and teach people how to prevent those fires in the first place.
According to research by the NFPA, two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fire-related injuries. Here are some tips on how to stay safe and prevent kitchen fires:
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food.
• If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• When you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the kitchen and us a timer to remind you.
• If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
• When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
• Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels and anything else that can burn away from your stovetop.
• Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
Firefighters are also speaking to elementary school classes to spread the word about having smoke alarms in the home, especially in light of the recent home fires and fatalities in Kingsport.
The KFD recommends that residents check their smoke alarms and replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old. They recommend a dual sensor smoke alarm, which contains both a ionization sensor, which picks up fast-burning fires quickly, and a photoelectric sensor, which picks up slow, smoldering fires quickly.
For more information, visit www.fpw.org..