Fire Prevention Week

Topics: Loss Control

Summary: Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries in the United States. The NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week takes place in October with the goal of spreading fire safety tips to help reduce the amount of home fires. Learn more about this important awareness event.

Over a hundred years ago, the Chicago Fire of 1871 burned through the city and beyond. Also known as the Great Chicago Fire, it destroyed thousands of buildings, caused an estimated $200 million in damages, resulted in over 250 deaths and left thousands of people homeless. The fire raged for two days, from October 8 through 10, when rain finally assisted firefighters in their efforts to put out the flames. In the years following the fire, the Windy City’s new mayor promised to enforce stricter building and fire codes as reconstruction efforts continued.

Fire Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is held every year during the week of October 9 in memory of the Great Chicago Fire. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the week a national observance in 1925, making it the longest-running public health observance in the United States.

What is the Purpose of National Fire Prevention Week?

As the official sponsor of National Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, the NFPA educates the public about the simple things they can do to prevent fires in their homes. The theme for 2020 is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” The NFPA states that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries in the country. A few quick facts about cooking fires:
  • 44% of home fires start in the kitchen
  • Ranges or cooktops account for almost 62% of home cooking fires
  • 66% of home cooking fires start due to the ignition of food or other cooking materials
  • Unattended equipment is a cause in 31% of reported home cooking fires
  • One of the most common causes of cooking fires is frying foods
The goal of Fire Prevention Week 2020 is to ensure people understand the actions they can take in their kitchens to keep themselves and everyone in the home and community safe.

Fire Prevention Tips for the Kitchen

Home kitchens are not the only ones at high risk for a fire. Fires and burn injuries are also common in commercial kitchens. In fact, the Burn Foundation states that the food service industry reports around 12,000 burns every year, the highest number in any employment sector.

The NFPA recommends keeping the following fire prevention tips in mind to help reduce home fires and fire injuries:

Cook with caution

Stay in the kitchen near the stove whenever cooking, frying, broiling or grilling food. Never leave a hot stove unattended, even for a short amount of time. Also, keep items that could catch fire clear of the stove, such as towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils and food packaging. Remember, the leading cause of home fires is unattended cooking in the kitchen.

Know how to handle a grease fire

Throwing water on a grease fire will only escalate the situation. Instead, smother the fire using the lid of the pan, and then turn off the burner. If the grease fire occurs in the oven rather than the stovetop, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed. Most fires in the home are due to the kitchen stove.

Install smoke alarms

When it comes to fires, a properly installed, working smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death. The NFPA reports that smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Smoke alarms should not only be installed in kitchens, but in every room, in every level of the house, including the basement. Test them often, and use the change of seasons as a reminder to swap out the batteries for fresh ones.

Have a home fire escape plan

Finally, every resident in the home should know how to get out in the event of a fire. The fire escape plan should include a map of the home, detailing exits like windows and doors, so everyone knows of at least two ways to get out. Practice the plan a few times throughout the year to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.

Loss Control Services from AmTrust Financial

AmTrust Financial’s Loss Control department understands that knowledge is key to safety. A few of our top business classes include restaurants, retail stores and more recently, apartment buildings and complexes. We provide a variety of industry resources, plus the expertise and tools our policyholders need to reduce risk. For more information about our loss control capabilities, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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