Dan­gers of cooking fires in fo­cus for Fire Preven­tion Week

YFD: 2 of ev­ery 5 home blazes start in the kitchen

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - James Gil­bert can be reached at jgilbert@yu­masun.com or 539-6854. Find him on Face­book at www.Face­book.com/ YSJamesGil­bert or on Twit­ter @YSJamesGil­bert. BY JAMES GIL­BERT @YSJAMESGIL­BERT

Fire de­part­ments through­out the coun­try re­sponded to an es­ti­mated 156,600 cooking-re­lated fires be­tween 2007-2011. Those fires re­sulted in 400 deaths, 5,080 in­juries and $853 mil­lion in di­rect dam­age, which is why the Yuma Fire De­part­ment has cho­sen to make cooking fires the topic of the fourth day of Na­tional Fire Preven­tion Week.

Yuma-area res­i­dents are be­ing re­minded that a fire can hap­pen any­where in­side a home, so it’s im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion to ar­eas like bed­rooms, liv­ing rooms and kitchens — where fires are most likely to oc­cur. Ac­cord­ing to YFD: • Two of ev­ery five home fires start in the kitchen.

• Unat­tended cooking was the most fre­quent cause.

• Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ig­ni­tion of food or other cooking ma­te­ri­als.

While stove­tops are among the most dan­ger­ous ap­pli­ances in any house­hold, mi­crowave ovens are one of the lead­ing home prod­ucts associated with scald burn in­juries not re­lated to fires.

Also, the heat from a stove, elec­tric fry­ing pan or other type of cooking equip­ment can ig­nite your clothes. Cloth­ing was the item first ig­nited in less than 1 per­cent of home cooking fires, but these in­ci­dents ac­counted for 15 per­cent of the cooking fire deaths.

It is also im­por­tant to use ex­treme cau­tion when cooking while chil­dren are present. Chil­dren un­der 5 face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than be­ing burned in a cooking fire. They can also cause dis­trac­tions for the cook.

While never leav­ing a burner unat­tended for more than a cou­ple of min­utes sounds like an easy rule to fol­low, it can ac­tu­ally be harder than one would think. So never leave things cooking on the stove unat­tended, keep clut­ter away from cooking sur­faces and wear cloth­ing free of loose, dan­gling sleeves,

YFD rec­om­mends a “Kid Free Zone” of at least 3 feet from cooking sur­faces and to al­ways turn pot han­dles to­ward the back of the stove to pre­vent chil­dren from grab­bing han­dles and spilling hot stuff onto them­selves.

YFD re­sponded to sev­eral se­ri­ous cooking-re­lated fires over the sum­mer. For­tu­nately, there were no in­juries in any of those fires, but they do serve as re­minders to “Watch what you heat” and never leave stove­top cooking unat­tended.

The peak time of year for cooking fires is be­tween Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas, and that time of year isn’t far away.

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