Fire Prevention Month Starts in the Kitchen

The main cause of residential fires is cooking. That's why this fire prevention month focuses on cooking safety.

"You want to make sure you don't wear any loose garments or anything that could get in there or caught on fire," explains Amarillo Firefighter Jeff Justus.

"You should turn your panhandles inward in case any little kid walks by because you don't want them to knock it off the stove. You want to keep little kids away from the stove if at all possible. It'd be good if you could tape off a three foot section so little kids know not to go in there."

If your food does catch fire, there are a couple ways to extinguish the flame. 

"If this flames up, if you've got a lid handy or close by, put the lid on there. You want to shut off the heat source, put your lid on it and just step away. If you don't have a lid for it, if you've got a tight fighting pan take a cookie sheet . This is actually better because you can get far away from it and set it on there," he explains. 

A fire extinguisher is always a good thing to have in the kitchen.

"They actually make fire extinguishers for the kitchen. It is a K-rated fire extinguisher.  The make A, B, C all different kinds. There's different chemicals inside of here designed specifically for grease fires and kitchen fires. We use an acronym called P-A-S-S. It means pull the pin out, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle and sweep it back and forth. P-A-S-S; pull, aim, squeeze, sweep.  Pretty easy to use. They discharge very fast so it's easy to get it out," he explains.

"You need to keep it close to the stove or cooking area. A lot of people mount it on the wall, but don't mount it on the back of the stove because then you're going to have to reach through the flames to get your extinguisher out.  Keep it somewhere near the heat source, but it doesn't necessarily have to be mounted. In a closet or kitchen pantry, but somewhere where you know where it's at."

But the number one reminder Firefighter Jeff wants you remember is pretty simple.

"Never leave your food unattended. Never leave your oven or your stove unattended. Never leave it on if you're going to leave. Like if we get a call at the fire station, we turn everything off and remove it from the heat. Then we go and come back. We eat a lot of cold food or just throw a lot of it away, but it's better than coming to a burned down station, Justus says. 

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