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Fire Prevention Week - Cooking Safely

What you need to know to cook safely

The Southern Marin Fire District is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years —to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” The campaign works to educate everyone about  simple but important actions they can take 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. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

 The Southern Marin Fire District encourages all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme and help prevent the start of fires. 


Cooking Safely Tips

Before you serve a meal, it’s essential to serve up fire safety in the kitchen. There’s nothing like spending time in the kitchen cooking a delicious meal for family and friends or an appetizing treat for yourself. But do you know the important steps to take long before anyone takes the first bite?

Cook with Caution:

- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.

- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

- A scald injury can happen at any age. Children, older adults and people with disabilities are especially at risk. Hot liquids from bath water, hot coffee and even microwaved soup can cause devastating injuries.

- With busy lives, families rely on the microwave oven as a quick way to heat up a meal, warm up a drink or defrost dinner. While the convenience of the microwave oven is something we take for granted, safety should not be.


If you have a small (grease) cooking fire and decide to fight the fire:

- In an oven: turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

- 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.


If you have any doubts fighting the small kitchen fire, here is what to do:

- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from outside the home


How To Cook Safely With Children

Did you know children younger than 5 years old are at the highest risk for burn injuries? Burn injuries in young children most frequently occur from contact burns that result from touching a hot object, such as a stove top or an iron. Young children also experience a high number of burns from hot liquids (scalds), such as hot coffee, soup, or boiling water.

Introduce Fire Prevention Week to students, your family, or your community through fun, interactive lessons and activities for all ages. 

Here are a few interactive PDF's that are really helpful:

Family Cooking Checklist

Kid-Free Zone Coloring Activity

Home Fire Escape Plan 

Flat Sparky Coloring Sheet

Hot or Not Activity Sheet

Interactive Hot or Not Sorting Sheet

Teacher's 5 Day Lesson Plan

Teacher's Stay Away From Hot Things Guide


Here's more fire safety information you can use:

- Cover all the bases for your family with our fire escape checklist.

- Older adults are more likely to die in a fire. Help keep them safe with our fire safety checklist for caregivers of older adults

- Download the cooking checklist in Spanish or French.

- Subscribe to Southern Marin Fire District’s monthly newsletter