This is Fire Prevention Week in Nebraska and the focus this year is on preventing kitchen fires. Beatrice Fire Captain John Carrel says there are common threads in all fires that strike that area of a home.
Captain Carrel says, “The usual call that we get is from someone that put something on a stovetop to cook and they get distracted, somebody comes to the door, the phone rings, a kid cries and they go into another room, they may have just been gone from the kitchen a few minutes but sometimes, that’s all it takes.”
He says to always make sure you switch the burner off if you have to leave the kitchen — or take the pan off the burner. He says fires that begin in the kitchen can be very damaging, not only from the flames but from the smoke, which can fill a house.
Homeowners should also keep stove tops clean and unobstructed.
“The stovetop should not be used for storage or countertop space,” he says. “Try to keep it free of any combustible materials and when you have a grease buildup on the stove, clean it up, because the next time you cook could be the time that stuff would light off.”
The National Fire Protection Association says cooking is the leading cause of home fires, while careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice