FORT MILL, S.C. — This week is Fire Prevention Week and this week’s theme is all about fire safety in the kitchen.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of United States home fires and home fire injuries.
Every year, the National Fire Protection Association collects data on fire incidents to determine a theme.
And this year, more people are at home because of COVID-19. With that, the NFPA is serving up fire safety in the kitchen.
To celebrate Fire Prevention Week, the town of Fort Mill and the Fort Mill Fire Department are hosting several online activities related to cooking safety and exit drills in the home.
Some include coloring contests for children and teens, home fire escape plans for adults to teach their children and virtual story time with Sparky the fire dog.
They’re also teaming up with Toppers Pizza to deliver a fire prevention week brochure with your order.
When it comes to cooking safety, we’re told to focus your attention while cooking. Never leave your stove and grill unattended.
Watch for flammable products like utensils, potholders, wrappings and other materials.
Annually, Fort Mill Fire Chief Chipper Wilkerson says there are approximately 175,000 cooking fires a year, around 550 deaths and 4,500 civilian injuries from cooking.
He says these are no small numbers and something worth discussing.
“Do not not leave things unattended, stay focused on it,” Wilkerson said. “As your getting into the holiday season, if you are consuming alcohol or anything like that, be careful. Those things can get out of hand quickly. Right now, within the general world of COVID, is there’s a lot more people at home including teenagers or teenage aged populations that are home more now. They are probably cooking for themselves some so it’s a good point for parents to talk about cooking safety and just general safety guidelines as being at home alone.”
Depending on what type of kitchen fire, occupancy and whether it’s commercial or residential, firefighters will use a chemical extinguisher, instead of water to take out grease fires, for example.
In addition to cooking fire safety tips, fire officials say always discard smoking products properly, don’t overload your circuit protectors in your home and maintain and clean appliances, like your dryer and vents.
Pre-COVID days, the Fort Mill Fire Department worked with neighborhood organizations and HOA groups, visited schools and held events in the town to educate folks on fire safety and prevention.
You can follow the Town of Fort Mill on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the Fort Mill Fire Department on Facebook during the week for details on each of the events.
Fire Prevention Week is an annual initiative that was started by former President Woodrow Wilson in 1922.
Past themes included candle fire safety and home escape routes.