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Town Talk: Serve up fire safety in the kitchen

The New Ulm Fire Department 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.

We spend a lot of time the kitchen, possibly even more during recent months as more people opt to cook at home. According to the NFPA Home Cooking Fires Report, with an average of 470 daily fires in the U.S., cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home injuries. Ranges and cook-tops account for 3 of every 5 reported home fire involving cooking equipment and ovens account for 13%. Unattended cooking is a contributing factor in 31% of home fires involving cooking equipment, 53% of the associated deaths and 44% of the associated injuries.

Since 1980, the number of reported home fires and fire deaths has decreased to approximately half. While this is a positive trend, we can shrink those numbers even further with education and prevention.

The New Ulm Fire Department wants to share these safety tips to keep you from having a cooking fire:

• Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

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

• Be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.

• Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire:

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

• Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

This year presents challenges for promoting Fire Prevention Week. We encourage you to Like the New Ulm Fire Department Facebook page for additional information and tips. The NFPA website (firepreventionweek.org and sparkyschoolhouse.org) also has a wide variety of free games, apps, printable activity sheets and videos for all ages.

We encourage all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme of “Serving Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” not only this week, but every week.

Data Reproduced from NFPA’s wesite, www.nfpa.org/publiceducation.

© NFPA.

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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