Wolf Administration Highlights Unique Fire Safety Risks Posed by COVID-19

Wolf Administration Highlights Unique Fire Safety Risks Posed by COVID-19

HARRISBURG, PA — In recognition of this year’s annual observance of “Fire Prevention Week,” State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego is reminding Pennsylvanians who are spending more time at home due to COVID-19 to be mindful of in-home fire safety.

“With more and more people being homebound and trying to multitask between teleworking, chores, cooking, and the like, it is understandable that people can get distracted from what they’re doing,” Commissioner Trego said.

“Fire and EMS personnel need everyone’s help to ensure operational tempo is kept low. Limiting public interaction keeps emergency responders safe from COVID and by taking action to prevent calls, you’re helping to limit department expenses while they are unable to conduct fundraising.”

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in The Kitchen™,” seeks to educate the public on the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe. The popular awareness campaign begins on Oct. 4 and lasts through Oct. 10.

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According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

The Office of State Fire Commissioner has prepared the following safety tips to prevent cooking fires.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling. If leaving is necessary, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer as a reminder to turn off cooking appliances.
  • Be alert when cooking.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Have a “kid and pet-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

“We want everyone to fully grasp the risk cooking poses, especially students who are just discovering the responsibilities of living independently,” Trego added. “It’s not uncommon for universities reacting to a COVID outbreak to quarantine students in their dorm rooms where there is limited space and few cooking appliances. Be mindful and talk to your students about how they can stay safe.”

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To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in your community, contact your local fire department.  For additional information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit www.fpw.org.

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