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North Haven Fire Department Shares Kitchen Fire Safety Tips During National Burn Awareness Week

Chief Paul Januszewski and the North Haven Fire Department would like to provide kitchen safety tips to residents as a part of National Burn Awareness Week.

Burn Awareness Week, organized by the American Burn Association (ABA), began this year on Sunday, Feb. 6 and ends on Saturday, Feb. 12. This annual campaign serves as an opportunity for fire officials to share common burn prevention messages with their communities. 

This year’s Burn Awareness Week theme is “Burning Issues in the Kitchen!” in an effort to remind people of simple but important steps to take in the kitchen to prevent fires and burn injuries.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Unattended cooking is the main cause of kitchen fires and almost two-thirds of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

The North Haven Fire wishes to share the following safety tips provided by the NFPA:


  • Stand by your pan when cooking. Do not leave food, grease or oils cooking on the stove unattended.
  • Always wipe clean the stove, oven, exhaust fan to prevent grease buildup.  
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re cooking.
  • Remain in the home while using the stove or oven. If you have to leave, turn the appliance off.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent accidental spills of hot contents.
  • Keep flammable objects such as potholders, towels, paper, or plastic bags away from heating elements.
  • Create a 3-foot “child-free zone” around the stove. Keep children and pets away from the stove while cooking to prevent burns and scalds.
  • Avoid wearing loose-hanging clothing that can catch fire. If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop, and roll to put out flames. 
  • After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off.

Should a fire occur while you are cooking, residents are advised to do the following:

  • Turn the heat off. Cover the pan with a lid or something like a cookie sheet. Leave it covered until the pan is cool. With the lid on and the heat off, the fire should quickly put itself out. DO NOT use water. Water will cause the oil to splatter and spread the fire, or scald you as it vaporizes.
  • NEVER move the pot or carry it outside – the pot will be hot to handle and the contents may splash, causing a severe burn.
  • Never discharge a portable fire extinguisher into a grease fire. Put a lid on a grease fire to smother it, then turn off the heat. Baking soda will also work.
  • For fires inside an oven or microwave, keep the door closed, turn off the appliance, and call the fire department.
  • In the event of a fire, leave the building immediately and call 911. All fires and burns, regardless of size, should be reported to the fire department.

Home Fire Escape Planning and Practice

  • Create a home escape plan and make a map. Share that plan with all members of your household. Designate a minimum of two ways to get out of each room, if possible.
  • Teach children how they can escape should they need to get out of the home on their own.
  • Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance away from the home where everyone in your household should meet in the event of a fire.

For more fire safety information and tips visit the NFPA website here or the ABA website here