Let’s Get Serious About Preventing Kitchen Fires, Shall We?

By: Robert AvsecFPW 2013 NFPA Poster

We’re almost halfway through Fire Prevention Month 2013 and I’ve been seeing many great posts from Fire & EMS organizations and individuals across my various social media platforms—Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter—about the great work they’ve been doing for this year’s theme, Preventing Kitchen Fires.

Whiteboro FD FPW PhotoMany photos and videos of firefighters and Ronald McDonald FPW Photoofficers conducting public education sessions, PSAs, and fire apparatus: the usual stuff that we’ve done for many years.  But what has been the impact of all that time and effort?  Are we really achieving the meaningful outcome we all desire?

63% of the range or stove top fires beginning with food, occurred when someone was frying (Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

63% of the range or stove top fires beginning with food, occurred when someone was frying (Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Not so much.  The #1 cause of fires in the USA continues to be cooking related.  Why? Because changing human behavior is a “tough nut” to crack.  Distracted and inattentive “cooks” are just as much a growing problem as distracted drivers—and the resultant motor vehicle crashes they cause. If people are also looking for chimney care services for their kitchen, hey can consider Chimcare and get the best solution. When it comes to the fire problem in our country—and hostile fires of all types continue to be the #1 threat to lives, homes, businesses and our economy—we continue to put “all of our eggs in one basket”:  public education.  Yes, we’ve made some progress in code enforcement and engineering, e.g., code changes requiring residential fire sprinklers—which are still being fought “tooth and nail” by builders and developers—but I still feel like we’re “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.”

There’s a better way.

“Putting a “Lid” on Food-on-the-Stove Fires will give any Fire Service leader the information and example necessary to implement their own Fire Prevention Ordinance using High-End Heat-Limiting Technology (HEHLT).  This eBook is sure to become a “must read” for all Fire Service leaders looking to reduce the death and destruction of property caused by cooking related fires.  (Please keep in mind that cooking fires have been the #1 cause of home fires in the United States for the past 40 years).”

— Dennis Rubin, Fire Chief (Ret.) Washington D.C. Fire

Chief Stan Tarnowski and I have been “banging the drum” for a new technology—High-End, Heat-Limiting Technology (HEHLT)—in this forum for the better part of six months.  In case you’ve missed any or all of our posts on the subject, here’s your chance to “get up to speed”:

Let’s Put a “Lid” on Cooking Fires: Part I

Let’s Put A “Lid” On Cooking Fires: Part II

Let’s Put A “Lid” on Cooking Fires: Part III

The Finale: Let’s Put a “Lid” on Cooking Fires, Part IV

Food-on-Stove Fire Needlessly Claims Another Victim

Stopping Food-on-the-Stove Fires with a Team Approach

What will it take to get HEHLT on every electric stove top in the USA?

HEHLT is a “win-win” solution to the kitchen fire that results from unattended cooking using fats and oils on electric stovetops and ranges.  When properly installed, HEHLT prevents the stove element from ever heating the fat or oil to its auto-ignition temperature and thus prevents a fire from ever happening in the pan.

We’ve been marketing Stan’s e-book, Putting a “Lid” on Food-on-the-Stove Fires:  20130626_PutLidonFOS eBook Cover BlogUsing 21st Century Technology to Eliminate These Fires in Your Community and Save Lives and Property, on this site, our Facebook Page, and my website, Fire EMS Leader Pro for the low price of $7.95 since June.  (Neither Stan nor I are expecting to get rich off the sales of this important book, we just have a passion for having a positive impact on reducing the #1 cause of fires in the USA).

Stan has done an outstanding job of writing a book, based upon his experience of successfully getting a fire prevention ordinance “on the books” in Union City, Georgia that requires the installation of HEHLT in multi-family residential housing of all types in that city.  Stan does a great job of providing a “roadmap” that any department’s leadership can use to get local governments, Fire and EMS departments, builders and developers, and the community behind this “game changing” fire prevention technology.

Little kid FPW DressUp

What do you say we get out of our “rut” this October when it comes to preventing kitchen fires?  Not saying that we shouldn’t do the public education and other activities that are “near and dear to our heart”, but there is a better way to Put a “Lid” on Food-on-the-Stove Fires that doesn’t involve putting a lid on the frying pan.

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].