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Public Education


Get a Kit - Get a kit of emergency supplies that will allow you and your family to survive for at least three days in the event an emergency happens. The kit should include basic items like water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight and a first aid kit. Go to www.ready.gov for a complete list of recommended supplies.
Make a Plan - Plan in advance what you and your family will do in an emergency. Your plan should include a communications plan and address sheltering-in-place and evacuation. Go to www.ready.gov for more information and templates to help get you started.


Cooking was involved in an estimated 146,400 home structure fires in the United States in 2005, according to a National Fire Protection Association report. Cooking fires accounted for 40% of the home structure fires in 2005, and these cooking fires resulted in 480 deaths, 4,690 injuries, and $876 million in direct property damage.

According to "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report, cooking equipment left unattended was a factor in ignition in 38% of home structure fires between 2002 and 2005. Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in home cooking fires, followed by combustibles too close to a heat source, and equipment being unintentionally turned on or not turned off.

Cooking also was the leading cause of home fire injuries, accounting for 36% of home structure fire injuries in 2005. These injuries were especially likely to occur during attempts to fight the fire. In home structure fires involving cooking equipment for 2002 to 2005, 59% of injuries occurred while fighting the fire, compared with 35% of injuries in all other types of home structure fires.

"Cooking results in more home fires and fire injuries in the United States each year than anything else and nearly all of these fires can be prevented with a little extra care," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of communications. “Simply paying attention when you are cooking will keep your dinner and everything else from getting burned."

Home cooking fires peak between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Extra cooking, as on major U.S. holidays, often means extra home cooking fires. Typically, more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.

Here are some safety tips from NFPA that fire chiefs can use in their public education:


  • 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.

  • To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

  • Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, boxes, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.

  • Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.

  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.

  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.