October 5, 2023 3:41 PM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The Santa Monica Fire Department is raising awareness about cooking safety this Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8 - 14, with free community events and activities along with hosting a proclamation at the Oct. 10 City Council meeting.
“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of fire prevention when it comes to cooking," said Fire Marshal Joe Cavin. Santa Monica has had a total of 378 fires from October 2022 - October 2023.
"Cooking-related fires are among the most common causes of residential fires, and they can lead to devastating consequences, including loss of life, property damage, and emotional trauma,” said Cavin. “The use of open flames, hot cooking surfaces, and flammable materials means that a momentary lapse in attention or a small mistake can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.” A cooking fire can grow quickly and is one of the most common household fires that can be easily prevented, which is why Fire Prevention Week is so important. Santa Monica Fire Department’s key safety tips to help reduce the risk of a cooking fire include:
- Never leave cooking unattended: Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking, and if you need to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove or oven.
- Watch what you heat. Always keep a close eye on what you are cooking. Set a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
- Have a “kid- and pet-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove or grill and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- Keep a clear workspace: Ensure that there are no flammable materials such as dish towels, paper towels, or curtains near the cooking area.
- Use appropriate cookware: Choose cookware with tight-fitting lids to prevent grease fires, and always keep a lid nearby to smother a potential fire.
- Be cautious with oils and fats: When frying food, use a thermometer to monitor oil temperature, and never overheat it. If grease catches fire, do not use water to extinguish it; use a fire extinguisher or cover it with a lid.
- Install smoke alarms: Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms in or near the kitchen, as they can provide early warning in case of a fire.
- Have a fire extinguisher: Keep a fire extinguisher rated for kitchen fires within easy reach and know how to use it.
- Educate family members: Teach your family members about fire safety in the kitchen, including how to respond in case of a fire.
A series of free community events in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign include:
Sunday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Cooking Safety at Santa Monica Main Street Farmers Market. The Fire Department will provide information and giveaways during the popular Main Street market. Located at 2640 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404.
Tuesday, Oct. 10, 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.: Fire Prevention Storytime at Fairview Library. Santa Monica Fire Inspector Engineer Reyes will read for a special story time and participants will have the opportunity to see a fire engine up close. The event is accessible to all, the library’s self-service Open+ Access is not required for entry. Fairview Library is located at 2101 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405.
Tuesday, Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m.: Fire Prevention Week Proclamation at Santa Monica City Hall. The Mayor Davis and the City Council will proclaim October 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week during the City Council Regular Meeting. Santa Monica City Hall is located at 1685 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Saturday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Open House at Fire Station 1. Participants can get a close-up view to a working fire station. Fire department personnel will provide cooking safety tips and information on preventing household fires. All ages welcome. Fire Station 1 is located at 1337 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Fire Prevention Week, which dates to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, serves as a tragic reminder of the devastating impact that fires can have on our lives and our communities. It underscores the need for continuous education and vigilance in fire prevention. Fire Prevention Week is a partnership with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 100 years — to promote this year’s campaign, "Cooking Safety starts with you. Pay attention to fire prevention." The campaign works to educate everyone about simple important actions they can take when cooking to keep themselves and those around them safe.
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Santa Monica please contact the Santa Monica Fire Department at (310) 458-8761. For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking safety, visit fpw.org. For fire safety fun for kids, visit sparky.org.
Fire Prevention Coordinator