SPRINGFIELD — The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is celebrating National Fire Prevention Week 2020 and Governor JB Pritzker has proclaimed October 4-10 as Fire Prevention Week in Illinois. OSFM is encouraging Illinois residents to learn proper cooking techniques, teach kids where to and not to be in the kitchen and ways to prevent kitchen fires.

This year’s theme is, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” According to the National Fire Prevention Association (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. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), in 2019 Illinois Fire Departments responded to 6,437 fires that were either caused by cooking, originated in the kitchen, or both.

“Cooking fires can grow quickly but are also preventable. Stay in the kitchen, set a reminder or timer, avoid using electronics or getting distracted by your favorite TV show. Set up a three-foot kid free zone around the stove or oven and keep anything that can catch fire away from stove tops. Following a few of these simple steps will lead to a fire-safe kitchen and home,” says Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.

Keep these important tips in mind to keep your kitchen and home fire safe:

• Never leave cooking food unattended. 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, remain in the home while food is cooking, 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 three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA Website.

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