HARTSVILLE – The first week in October is Fire Prevention Week. The Hartsville Fire Department is working around COVID-19 to spread the word through social media Oct. 4-10.
This year’s theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.”
Thomas Catoe Jr., fire inspector with the Hartsville Fire Department, said the number one cause of house fires in the United States originates in the kitchen.
“Cooking is the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries,” Catoe said, “and unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen, especially unattended grease on the stove.”
To help avoid kitchen fires, stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food. Catoe said turn off the burner if you must leave the kitchen even for a short time. If simmering, baking or roasting food, he said, it is necessary to check it regularly and stay in the home.
Catoe said safety tips include staying focused on the food when cooking, use a timer, and don’t cook if you are sleepy, consuming alcohol or taking medication that makes you drowsy. Also, keep the kitchen area clear, keep children 3 feet away from cooking area; clean up food and grease from hot cooking service, never pour water on a grease fire. Put a lid on it. He said to keep a lid handy when cooking to help prevent a small fire from getting out of control. Slide the lid over the pan and don’t take it off until the pan cools. Never discharge a fire extinguisher into a grease fire because it will cause it to spread, Catoe said. If the oven catches on fire, keep the door shut and turn off.