GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The days from Oct. 8-14 comprise Fire Prevention Week. Fire safety is a full-time job, but this time of year, fire departments and county organizations speak up on how to stay safe. This year, they’re looking at your kitchen – but not the dirty dishes.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Cooking safety starts with YOU” – and local counties are speaking out about exactly what that means. Warren and Washington counties have both released tips on how to keep your cooking space safe – as well as thoughts on how much can go wrong.

“Kitchen fires spread rapidly, and particularly if they involve cooking oils, can be very difficult to extinguish,” said Warren County Fire Coordinator Ralph Bartlett. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires, so it is important to stay in the kitchen and pay attention when burners or the oven are on. Please keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen and know how to use it.”

Fire safety tips sent by one or both counties include:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while burners or the oven are on
  • Set a timer to keep track of cooking times
  • Turn pot handles backward so they face the stove, rather than poking out where they could get snagged on clothing or bumped into
  • If grease catches fire, slide a pot or pan lid over the fire and turn off the stove
  • Treat at least three feet around the stove as a child-free area
  • Flammable items, including oven mitts and pot holders, should be kept off and away from the stovetop at all times

Fire emergencies around the kitchen tend to center around the stove. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires. As with anywhere in the home, flames in the kitchen spread fast.

“A cooking fire can grow quickly. I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented,” said Washington County Fire Coordinator Glenn Bristol.