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I came across this cool little article in Modern Farmer, "Let's All Fry the Friendly Skies," which highlights cooking oil and its seemingly new role - that of becoming biofuel for planes. From the sound of it, cooking oil will not only be a staple in our recipes, but it may just play a larger role in the movement towards using more sustainable energy to fuel our planet. Food

And okay, I admit that most of us won't be flying on planes powered by fruits or seeds in the very near future, but we will still be cooking with oil in our kitchens. So, take the time to play it safe. Learn the do's and don'ts of cooking with oil on our Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage, and consider the following:

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
  • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
  • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.

Keeping these and other tips top of mind as you cook ensures you and your family can greatly reduce the risk of a cooking fire. And who knows, that next plane you hear flying overhead may just get its power from the stirfry you're preparing for tonight's dinner!

Learn more about cooking safely with oil at www.nfpa.org/cooking.

During this, the last week of October, we're continuing our conversastion about fire safety on college campuses, specifically in dorm rooms and apartments. Our topic today:  fire extinguishers. Fire

According to NFPA, portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives, but NFPA also reminds people that portable extinguishers have their limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, we recommend you don't spend time deciding whether you should put the fire out yourself. Leave the firefighting up to the professionals and get out of the building as quickly as possible, and stay out. Consider this:

* Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and most importantly, it is not growing. In the same vein, call the fire department immediately and alert your roomates and neighors; help make sure everyone exits quickly. 

* Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Having a fire extinguisher handy helps us feel safer, but at the same time, our concentration should be focused on already having an escape plan and working smoke alarms in place.

If you don't have an alarm or a plan, now's the time to put one together and contact your landlord or RA (resident assistant) for help. Not sure where to start? NFPA has some great information about the best way to create a plan, and how to practice it, so make it a point to check out our Smoke Alarm Central webpage.

Need more info about campus fire safety? NFPA's got that covered, too. Our campus fire safety webpage includes an infographic, tips sheet and more that will surely move you to action. Our friends at the The Center for Campus Fire Safety are also involved in some amazing projects and activities to help keep students, staff and faculty safe. The Center is a non-profit, membership-based organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation's campuses, and is the voice of over 4,000 campuses across the country. Check out their website today!

I know, I know, it's easy to get distracted by the day-to-day craziness of classes, homework and activities during the school year. But that doesn't mean you can't make safety one of your top priorities, right? It only takes a few minutes a day, it's easy to do, and I promise, practicing fire safety throughout the year will be one of the best educational choices you will ever make. So what are you waiting for? Start making a difference today!

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