October is Fire Prevention Month and a great time to learn more about fire safety and steps to take to save lives.

Fire prevention week, Oct. 4 to 10, will “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”

Cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries, and unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. As a retired firefighter, I wanted to help highlight actions you can take to prevent a home fire.

Never leave the room when frying, grilling or broiling food, but if it’s necessary to leave, be sure to turn off the stove and keep anything that could catch fire away from the stove top, like oven mitts, towels and wooden utensils. If a cooking fire does start, get out of the house and call 911 once safely outside.

Having working smoke detectors in the home is critical. According to the National Safety Council, about 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in households with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. These should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month and replaced every 10 years.

Fires can spread rapidly, leaving only a couple minutes to escape, which makes it crucial to have an escape plan in place. Everyone should take a few minutes to make a plan today. A plan should include two ways to escape from each room and designate a meeting place outside, a safe distance away from the home. When practicing an escape plan, be sure to tell any children in the home they should never run back into a burning building under any circumstance.

Following these fire safety tips and guidelines can help save lives. This month, be aware of fire prevention and ensure these guidelines are implemented in your own home.

To learn more about fire prevention and safety tips, visit nfpa.org.

State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) represents House District 67, which includes all of Ohio and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Jennings and Ripley counties.

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