For Immediate Release
Press Contact: David Orth, Fire Department, (510) 981-5501

Fire Prevention Week: October 8 - 14, 2006

Berkeley, California (Friday, October 06, 2006) - It's time for Fire Prevention Week, and from October 8-14, Berkeley Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to 'Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat.'

According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. One out of three home fires begins in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.

"Often when we're called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes," said Deputy Fire Chief David Orth. "Sadly, that's all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach residents in the community before they've suffered a damaging lesson."  

Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing:

·          Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.

·          If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·          When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.

·          If you have young children, use the stove’ back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.

·          When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.

·          Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.

·          Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.


Smoke detectors are recognized as the single most effective life-saving device in the home. Most fire fatalities occur between 2:00 and 6:00 a.m., when people are asleep and their natural “fire sensing equipment” is least effective. Fire experts agree that 40-50 percent of the 6,000 lives lost in residential fires in the country last year could have been saved if the families had used smoke detectors. The Berkeley Fire Department encourages all residents to install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, and to test the alarms monthly. All batteries should be replaced with new ones at least once a year when daylight savings time ends. Since smoke alarms may be dependent on your home’s electrical service and might not work during a power outage, make sure your alarm uses a back-up battery.

Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. This is the 85th year that fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record.


For more information, please contact  David Orth, Deputy Fire Chief, at 981-5501.