HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”
According to Huntsville Fire & Rescue, the leading cause of fires nationwide and in Huntsville is cooking fires and that’s why you have to, “Keep an eye on what you fry!”
In other words, when you are cooking with any kind of grease, don’t leave it unattended.
“Most of those fires usually involve cooking with grease or oil,” Huntsville Fire Marshal Daniel Wilkerson said. “The grease or oil gets hot and produces a flammable vapor...it ignites and grows very quickly.”
Wilkerson says people often respond in ways that make the fire worse.
For example, throwing water into the fire is a natural response, but not the right one.
Instead, Wilkerson says to immediately cover the fire with a lid or a cookie sheet and turn off the stove if possible.
Wilkerson also urges residents to keep combustibles, such as dish towels and paper towels, away from the stove.
“From time to time people put a towel on the stove and it can easily catch on fire,” Wilkerson said. “So keep that area clear so that even if you have a grease fire, it won’t grow into nearby combustibles.”
Ultimately, Wilkerson urges residents to keep the stove area as open and clean as possible and to call the fire department for a follow-up even if the incident is minor.
“Always call the fire department," Wilkerson said. "Let us come check to make sure that there are no hidden fires in the cabinets or the walls because the last thing we want to do is for you to think the fire is out and it’s not. We have thermal cameras that we can use to detect those hidden fires.”
Wilkerson also encourages households to purchase a fire extinguisher and keep it in hazard areas such as the kitchen.
“If you have a grease fire on the stove and it’s in the early stages, you can use a fire extinguisher,” Wilkerson said. “It can limit you being displaced out of your home. But we also want to make sure you are comfortable using the extinguisher and that you are using it safely."
Wilkerson says he has seen one too many homes damaged, and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.
He encourages families to discuss these fire prevention safety tips and to contact Huntsville Fire & Rescue with any questions.