Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
“Public awareness about kitchen fires is so important because of the loss of life, serious injuries and property damage,” said State Fire Marshal Richard Miller. “Kitchen fires are the most common and difficult type of fire to suppress because people tend to panic. They tend to pour water on it but it will only make the fire bigger. It is a different type of fire that takes a different approach to extinguish.”
In 2012, home fires killed more than 58 people in Michigan. Fire departments throughout the state responded to 15,256 home fires, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Cooking equipment, heating and electrical equipment, smoking materials, and lit candles are among the leading causes of all reported home fires.
“Cook with Caution” by following a few safety tips to prevent kitchen fires:
If You Have A Cooking Fire...
According to Miller, nearly two-thirds of home structure fire deaths occur in homes where there is no smoke alarm or where smoke alarms are present but fail to operate because the batteries have been removed. Having working smoke alarms cuts the risk of dying in reported home fires in half and having automatic fire sprinkler systems in the home cuts the risk of dying in a home fire by about 80 percent.
“Many homes still have only one smoke alarm and that is simply not enough,” Miller said. “There should be working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom and in the basement.”
Miller recommends installing the 10-year lithium battery powered smoke alarm that is sealed and cannot be tampered with, and the newer, interconnected smoke alarms that offer the best protection because when one sounds, they all do. Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month using the test button and the batteries replaced every year.
“It’s also so important to have a home fire escape plan and practice it because fire is unpredictable and moves fast,” Miller explained. “You may have only seconds to escape. In less than three minutes, your home could be totally engulfed in flames, so every family member should know how to react quickly and calmly."
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), less than 25 percent of American households have developed and practiced a fire escape plan to be prepared for a real emergency.
When developing a home fire escape plan:
The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services joins the NFPA and other state and national organizations in recognizing Fire Prevention Week. The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 91 years making it the longest-running public health and safety observance on record. For more information about preventing fires and staying safe, go to the NFPA official Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org