I was pouring through some materials in a folder here on my desk when I came across an NFPA brochure on cooking from 2006! At first I chuckled at the date, but as I looked at the cool little checklist at the back of the brochure, I thought, you know, no matter where we are in years, taking steps to stay safe from fire and other hazards is, and will continue to be, an important and timeless activity.
As a parent, take a moment to share these small, but oh, so important tips with your kids, and see if you can answer all the questions with a resounding "Yes!"
* Does a grown-up watch the stovetop when he or she is frying food?
* Do the grown-ups in your home pay attention to the food that is cooking?
* Is the fire department emergency number near the phone?
* Is your home's fire escape plan somewhere where everyone can see it? Have you practiced the plan?
* Are small appliances unplugged when they are not being used?
* Is the top of the stove clean? No spilled food, grease, paper or bags?
* Are things that can burn, like dish towels, curtains or paper at least 3 feet away from the stove?
* Are pot holders or oven mitts easy for grown-ups to reach when they are cooking?
* Do children and pets stay out of the "kid-free zone" (3 feet from stove) when a grown-up is cooking?
How did you do? If you didn't answer all the questions with a "yes," don't worry, you can find more information and additional safety tips on NFPA's cooking fire safety central web page that can help get you back on the path to safety. And don't forget, you can always download the tips sheet or infographic and hang it right on your fridge as a daily reminder for everyone to see!