TAVARES — The Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, observes National Fire Prevention Week which starts Sunday, Oct. 8, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 14. Spearheaded by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), this year’s theme is: "Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat.”
According to the NFPA, between the years 1999-2002 there were 114,000 reported home fires associated with cooking equipment on average per year, resulting in an annual 290 deaths and 4,380 injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking kitchen fires.
Lake County Fire Rescue over the last two years has responded to 109 home cooking fires in the kitchen causing injury to three civilians and property losses in excess of $33,650.
Along with having a working smoke alarm in every level of a home, here are some cooking fire prevention tips offered by the U.S. Fire Administration:
• Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
• Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to prevent clothing fires.
• Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames and heating elements.
• Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup, which can ignite.
• If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it.
• Never throw water on a grease fire.
• Heat oil gradually to avoid burns from spattering grease. Use extra caution when preparing deep-fried foods.
• Never use the range or oven to heat a home.
• Double check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the house. Make sure all small appliances are turned off.
Lake County Fire Rescue also reminds residents that Sunday, Oct. 29, is when most Americans change their clocks back an hour to Standard Time. Residents should check their smoke detector batteries to make sure the detector is in good working order. Residents having a working smoke detector can double their family’s chance of survival during a fire.
For more fire prevention tips or information on free smoke detectors for eligible families within the unincorporated area of Lake County, call the Lake County Department of Public Safety at (352) 343-9458.