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Illinois celebrates Fire Prevention Week

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[October 08, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal announced that as part of Fire Prevention Week, it is joining the national campaign from the National Fire Protection Association to prevent house fires. This year's campaign runs Oct. 6-12, and the goal is to provide the public with safety tips to promote safe cooking and kitchen habits for the entire family.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the top cause of home fires and home fire injuries nationwide. This year's campaign theme, "Reduce Kitchen Fires," focuses on encouraging the public to practice safe habits while using the stove, microwaves and other kitchen appliances.

"Remaining attentive while cooking and keeping small children away from hot appliances help prevent tragedies," said Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. "We cannot stress enough the importance of having working smoke alarms in different parts of the house and a home sprinkler system if possible. In addition, every member of the family should follow fire safety tips and be involved in the family's collective effort to prevent house fires."

In Illinois between 2010 and this year, more than 5,300 home fires have started in the kitchen area. Those fires have resulted in 43 fatalities and 361 injuries and a total dollar loss of close to $78 million. This year alone, 793 of those fires have claimed two lives and injured 47.

OSFM offers the following safety tips:

  • Be alert! Don't use the stove or stovetop if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol.

  • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

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  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly.

  • Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

  • Keep anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from your stovetop.

  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where water is boiling, or where hot food is prepared or carried.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher in a safe place near the kitchen in case of a small fire.

  • If a kitchen fire gets out of control, get everyone out of the house and call 911 immediately.

For more information on fire prevention, visit

[Text from Office of the State Fire Marshal file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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