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Avoid Kitchen Fires – Use Red Cross Tips

Home Fires
October 6-12 is National Fire Prevention Week

The theme of this year’s National Fire Prevention Week is “Prevent Kitchen Fires” and the American Red Cross has steps people can follow to avoid fires while cooking.

The Red Cross responds to a fire in someone’s home about every eight minutes and cooking is the number one cause of these fires in the United States. The Red Cross offers the following information to avoid a fire while working in the kitchen.

COOKING SAFETY The cook should not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. They should also stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food - never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, for even a short period of time, 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 children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  • 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.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • 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.
  • HOME FIRE SAFETY Home fires are the biggest disaster threat Americans face. The Red Cross wants people to know about the steps they can take to be safer if a fire should occur in their home.

    The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.

    Other safety steps include:

  • Follow the escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
  • Visit for additional fire safety tips.

    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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.