Fire Prevention Week: State fire marshal urges people to cook with cautionPublished 10:21am Thursday, October 10, 2013
ST. PAUL — State fire officials are urging Minnesotans to clear countertop clutter and cook with caution following a recent fire that injured an elderly woman and a St. Paul firefighter. The 85-year-old woman was cooking breakfast when a plastic appliance near the stove caught fire.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) is recognizing Fire Prevention Month with these reminders: Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop and never leave the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food.
“A pan of oil can ignite in mere seconds. Leaving cooking unattended, even for one minute, can be deadly,” State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl said in a press release. “Cooking-related injuries and deaths are preventable. Stay in the kitchen and pay attention while you cook.”
Observation of Fire Prevention Month in Minnesota is built around Fire Prevention Week Oct. 6-12. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”
Cooking continues to be the leading cause of Minnesota structure fires, accounting last year for 46 percent of blazes and $292 million in property damage. Cooking fires killed one person and injured 42 last year in Minnesota.
Cooking safety tips
•Pay attention and stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food.
•Turn off the stove if you have to leave the kitchen, even for a short time.
•Have a kid-free zone of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared.
•Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging — away from the stovetop.
•For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
•Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires.
—Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the stove.
—Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
State Fire Marshal Division 2012 statistics:
•One structure fire was reported in Minnesota every 1.4 hours
•4,863 of a total 6,436 structure fires in Minnesota occurred in residential property
•58 percent of fire deaths occurred where people generally feel safest – at home