Cook with care: National Burn Awareness Week aims to prevent burn injuries in the kitchen

Published 3:47 pm Monday, February 7, 2022

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In recognition of 2022 National Burn Awareness Week, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey encourages families to practice safe-cooking habits.

National Burn Awareness Week runs Feb. 6-12. This year’s theme from the American Burn Association is “Burning Issues in the Kitchen.”

“Almost half of all home fires are caused by cooking and many of those fires are preventable by simply being safer in the kitchen,” said Causey. “Burn Awareness Week is an opportunity for us all to take time to learn how we can prevent injuries and deaths caused by burns.”

Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people suffer burn injuries that require medical attention every year in the United States.

To prevent injuries and deaths caused by burns in the kitchen, State Fire Marshal Causey offers these safety tips:

  • Prevent splatter burns. When frying, use a pan lid to prevent splatter burns.
  • Keep your stovetop clear. Always wipe clean the stove, oven and exhaust fan to prevent grease buildup.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking to avoid a burn.
  • Stay alert. The best time to cook is when you are wide awake and not drowsy from medications or alcohol.
  • Never leave the stove unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave, turn off the stove.
  • Keep children safe in the kitchen. Have a “kid-free-zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Monitor your appliances. After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off.

Most “fire-related injuries” are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a burn serious enough to require treatment, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15.

To prevent burns from fires and scalding, Causey offers these safety tips:

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home — on every floor and near all rooms where family members sleep. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly.
  • Create and practice a family fire escape plan and involve kids in the planning. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and identify a central meeting place outside.
  • Check water heater temperature and make sure to set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

For more information and safety tips, visit the OSFM website.