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posted: 10/5/2013 5:00 AM

Fire risk heavy in the kitchen

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It is once again time for Fire Prevention Week.

From Oct. 6-12, Lake County fire departments are joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association to reinforce concepts on how to prevent kitchen fires.

This year, fire departments will be spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires, most of which result from unattended cooking.

While there are many fire related public education efforts focused at school-age children throughout October, it is especially important that we take time to reflect on the devastation that fires and burns present to people of all ages. According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires.

Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries. More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires, and about 20,000 are injured.

All of us should remember these safety tips when cooking in our homes:

• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food. If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you.

• If you have young children, use the stove's back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.

• When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.

• Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.

• Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.

Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by all Lake County fire agencies. Direct any questions or requests for more information to your local fire department or visit

John R. Christian, Chief, Grayslake Fire Protection District and

President, Lake County Fire Chiefs Association

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