Sunday, October 6, 2013
About half of all accidental house fires begin in the kitchen, so the Wichita Fire Department is using Fire Prevention Week to raise awareness about cooking fires.
"The kitchen is the most dangerous room in your home," Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said.
In Wichita, just over half of the house and apartment fires so far this year have started in the kitchen.
"In the past three years, we've experienced an average of 200 cooking fires just here in Wichita," Crisp said.
Damage caused by those fires has added up to about $1 million each year, he said.
Firefighters say it is easy for a fire to start in the kitchen and quickly burn out-of-control when cooking is left unattended.
"People get busy; they're trying to multi-task," Wichita Fire Department Capt. Stacey Wespi said. "They're starting dinner and then they get interrupted with a phone call, someone at the door, a television show, the needs of a child."
Wespi said anyone who must leave the kitchen while cooking should turn the stove off.
Firefighters also say to never wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking. A 96-year-old Wichita woman died in May after suffering severe burns when the robe she was wearing came in contact with a burner on her stove.
Fire Prevention Week is also a good time to check smoke detectors and for the whole family to go over the plan for escaping a burning home, Wespi said.
"They need to make sure that they have a plan to get out of the house from any point of the house and they need two means of escape, not just one route," he said.
Anybody with fire prevention questions or anybody needing assistance with in stalling smoke detectors can call the Wichita Fire Department at 268-4441.