The National Fire Protection Agency has deemed Oct. 4-10 as National Fire Prevention Week this year across the U.S. This year’s theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” which aims to educate our communities about the most common cooking-related causes of fire and the simple actions we can take to keep our kitchens fire free.

According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44 percent) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66 percent) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Statistics from investigations conducted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office over the past few years have also shown cooking to be one of the leading causes of fire deaths in Louisiana.

Some of the main messages of Fire Prevention Week include:

Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.

You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.

Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

– State Fire Marshal Butch Browning

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