RAPID CITY, S.D. — It is National Fire Prevention Week, and the Rapid City Fire Department is serving up tips to keep you and your family safe, and this year’s focus is kitchen safety.
Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires and fire injuries in the home. Some of the main causes are burning food and or grease, and unattended stove tops.
“If your food, especially that grease, when it gets hot enough, it will smoke and then it will burst into flames,” said RCFD Fire and Life Safety Specialist, Monica Colby. “It doesn’t need to, like, splatter out and touch the heat, it just gets so hot.”
Using a timer is also helpful if you do walk away, but ultimately staying near a heated stove when cooking is the best defense against fire danger. If there are any distractions, phone calls, or you need to step away from the stove, it is best to turn it off.
In the case you have to put out a kitchen fire, the best options are putting a lid over the fire to keep it contained, using a fire extinguisher, and of course, turning the stove off so the area can actually cool down. If left to burn, there is always the potential for additional fires.
While you can certainly use baking soda as well, there are risks involved, like the baking soda usually being stored near the stove, and the challenge of pouring it on the fire without being burned.
“Most of the injuries that happen with cooking fires is because people are trying to put it out,” said Colby. “We are very happy if you just leave it and let the fire department come and take care of it. Just call us and let us know about it.”
Although there is no age limit for allowing children to cook, it is highly recommended that they be supervised as long as is necessary. This is different for every child, and parental discretion is advised.