American Red Cross wants families to help prevent the most common disaster in the country. Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than in any other room in the home. That warning comes as the American Red Cross observes Fire Prevention Week. Spokesperson Carol Yelverton says the Red Cross responded to more than 73,000 disasters across the US last year, of which 92% were fire related. “Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries and the culprit two out of three times is the stove.”
A home fire is reported every 79 seconds in the U.S., and Yelverton says many house fires did not have to happen. As they focus on kitchen fires this week, she says one significant preventive measure would be to keep the kitchen area clean from clutter. “We are encouraging people to keep all potential fuel sources — you know, anything that could be flamable like, you know, pot holders, plastic wrap, paper towels — three feet away from the stove. I always say it's the three foot rule.”
Yelverton adds, make sure you have working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and get into the habit of checking your stove before you go to bed or leave your home.
We already talk to our kids about different ways to protect ourselves, like looking both ways before crossing the street. So, Yelverton says safety in the kitchen should also be discussed with your kids, as well as having a home fire escape plan.
In addition to preventing kitchen fires, Yelverton says it's important to pay special attention to portable heaters, candles, unattended cigarettes and be sure to keep matches and lighters away from kids.
Fire Prevention Week is October 8th through the 14th.
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American Red Cross