The Wheeling Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week (FPW) for more than 100 years — to promote this year’s FPW campaign, “Cooking Safety Starts with YOU. Pay Attention to Fire Prevention.”
National Fire Prevention Week will take place Oct. 8-14 and aims to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take when cooking to keep themselves and those around them safe.
According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, with nearly half (49%) of all home fires involving cooking equipment; cooking is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and related deaths.
“Don’t leave your kitchen if cooking on the stove,” said Wheeling Assistant Fire Chief Deric Jamison. “At WFD, most, if not all cooking fires we’ve responded to over the years are a result of an unwatched stove. Keep an eye on what you’re doing, if you need to leave the room, turn the burner off.”
Jamison also suggests never leaving non-cooking related items on the stovetop even when it is turned off. This includes items like groceries, dish/paper towels, food packaging, and leftover food.
he Wheeling Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention also suggests keeping a lid handy should a grease fire occur and having oven/hand mitts around to avoid burns. For foods with longer cook times, such as those that are simmering or baking, set a timer to help monitor them carefully.
As part of the week’s educational campaign - WFD will have informational tables set up from 1-3 p.m. at the Mount DeChantal Kroger on Monday, Oct. 9, Elm Grove Riesbeck’s on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and the Warwood Kroger on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
National Fire Prevention Week – now in its 101st year – was established to commemorate the “Great Chicago Fire” of Oct. 8-10, 1871, which killed roughly 300 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres.
WFD also reminds everyone to change the batteries in their smoke alarms twice a year – most notably on the ‘Fall Back’ and ‘Spring Forward’ clock changes. This year’s ‘Fall Back’ date is Sunday, Nov. 5.