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Help Prevent Kitchen Fires by Following Safety Tips with Kids

Home fires are the worst disaster threat to families in the U.S. That’s why it’s important children know what to do if a kitchen fire or home fire does start

During Fire Prevention Week, observed October 6 through 12, the American Red Cross reminds families of kitchen fire dangers and the need to keep children at a safe distance when cooking. It is important to enforce a “kid-free zone” in the kitchen, keeping kids at least three feet away from the stove to help prevent home fires.

Home fires are the worst disaster threat to families in the United States. They can happen quickly, devastating lives and property. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are as many as 365,000 residential fires reported in the U.S. every year.

That’s why it is important children know what to do if a kitchen fire or home fire does start. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. Ensure they know two ways to escape from every room of your home, especially the kitchen where many fires ignite, and where to meet up outside. It is also important to practice your fire escape plan. Finally, teach children to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

DEMONSTRATE COOKING SAFETY Parents can demonstrate cooking safety to their children. While cooking, parents should not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves. Never leave cooking food unattended – stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove. Other safety steps include:

  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
  • TEACH DISASTER SAFETY Now is the time to teach children about disaster preparedness and home safety such as fire prevention. The Red Cross Masters of Disaster® curriculum is centered on a series of ready-to-go lesson plans that help both organizations and parents educate children about important disaster safety and preparedness information.

    Masters of Disaster contains lessons, activities, and demonstrations on disaster-related topics that organizations can incorporate into daily or thematic programming. The curriculum is specifically tailored for lower elementary (K–2), upper elementary (3–5) and middle school (6–8) classes. These essential preparedness skills will carry children through life.

    FIRST AID APP Parents should also download the American Red Cross First Aid App which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies such as burns at their fingertips. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the official Red Cross First Aid app gives instant access to the information needed to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid.

    To learn how to prevent a fire in the home and how to keep children safe, take the Red Cross Fire Safety Quiz and download The Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist.

    Tags: Fire Safety.
    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.