From Staff Reports

By the very nature of its primary purpose, it stands to reason that a home’s kitchen is

the likeliest place where the majority of home fires begin, and that’s the reasoning behind this year’s National Fire Prevention Week’s emphasis, according to Prosper Fire Marshal Bryan Ausenbaugh.

"Most kitchen fires, which have the disastrous consequence of spreading rapidly, are the result of inattention.

We’ll often hear that the stove was left unattended for mere minutes while the cook answered a phone, walked into another room or left the kitchen for some other reason. Unfortunately, all it takes is a few seconds for a towel, napkin

or grease splatter to engulf the entire kitchen in flames," he said.

During National Fire Prevention Week, which runs this year from Sunday, Oct. 6 through Saturday, Oct. 12, Prosper firefighters will be bringing attention to the dangers of kitchen fires as they meet with residents, visit schools and conduct fire prevention presentations.

"There are very basic things that residents can do to help prevent these fires. Number one, of course, is remembering never to leave the kitchen while a flame is active or burner is on. Clearing the cooking surface of flammable materials, and covering cookware that contains the potential for splatter are essential as well. Throughout Fire Prevention Week, and for the rest of October, we will be emphasizing the importance of kitchen safety as it relates

to fire prevention," said Ausenbaugh.

Research by the National Fire Prevention Association reveals that 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 often than not, these are fires that can be prevented. Something as simple as having a fire extinguisher handy can prevent a catastrophic loss," he added.

Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing are: stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food; if you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove; when simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer as a reminder.

Also, when cooking around young children, use the stove’s back burners; keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove; when cooking, wear tight-fitting sleeves; keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and other flammables, away from stovetop; clean up food and grease from burners and

stovetops.

For more information contact Fire Marshal Bryan Ausenbaugh at (972) 346-9969 or via e-mail at bryan.ausenbaugh@prosperfire.com.