October 7, 2023

By Assistant Chief Jim Eden
Lee’s Summit Fire Department

The Lee’s Summit Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week (FPW) campaign, “Cooking safety starts with you. Pay attention to fire prevention.” The campaign provides education about simple but important actions people can take when cooking to keep themselves and those around them safe.

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and deaths.

Year after year, cooking remains the leading cause of home fires by far, accounting for half (49%) of all U.S. home fires. The Lee’s Summit Fire Department encourages all residents to embrace the 2023 Fire Prevention Week theme, “Cooking safety starts with you. Pay attention to fire prevention,” said Fire Marshal Jim Eden. “Kitchen fires start and spread quickly. The common response from most cooking fire victims was ‘I only left for a minute.’ I have seen many kitchen fires that could have easily been prevented by not being distracted when cooking.”

The Lee’s Summit Fire Department offers these safety tips to help reduce the risk of a cooking fire:

Cook with Caution

• Stay in the kitchen while frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food. If you leave for even a short time, turn off the stove.
• If simmering, baking or roasting food check it regularly, stay at home while food is cooking, and use a timer as a reminder that you are cooking.
• Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wood or plastic utensils, food packaging and towels away from the stovetop.
• Be alert! If you are tired, consumed alcohol or medication that can make you sleepy, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
• Be prepared for a fire by keeping a lid nearby and having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

If you have a small cooking fire and decide to fight the fire
• On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
• For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire
• Get everyone out! When leaving, close the door to help contain the fire.
• Call 911 at the first sign of fire.

In addition to being prepared for cooking fires, ensure you have working smoke alarms and an escape plan. For more information about Fire Prevention Week and fire safety, visit www.fpw.org, LSfire.net, or the Lee’s Summit Fire Department’s Facebook page.