Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

October 1, 2020
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen! ™

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents to take some time during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire. While children under five and adults over 65 are at the highest risk for injury or death in a fire, people of all ages are at risk.

Every year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a theme for fire prevention week. This year's theme, "Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen" ™, is to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe in the kitchen.

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

It is essential to follow these safety tips to prevent you from having a cooking fire:

  • Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
  • Be alert when cooking. You won't be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you're cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop. Loose clothing can hang down onto stove burners and catch fire. Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

"In support of Fire Prevention Week, we encourage all households to follow these most important steps before making a meal. A cooking fire can grow quickly; injuring and damaging homes that could easily have been prevented," said Dr. Ruppert.

"In addition to following safe cooking practices, all homes should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that are installed properly, tested monthly, and replaced if needed," said Christopher Kear, Director of the Office of Fire and Emergency Services.

The Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP) provides information about fire safety and offers free home visits to identify and discuss health and safety issues in the home for eligible residents, including low-income residents, seniors, and at-risk families. HNP can also provide and install free smoke alarms, as supplies last, to help address these issues. A brief home survey is required at the time of the visit. During Fire Prevention Week, HNP staff will be giving out oven mitts (while supplies last, one per family) with a HNP home visit. HNP staff wear masks, gloves, and adhere to social distancing guidelines during scheduled home visits. For more information, call the Healthy Neighborhoods Program at 845-364-3290 or 845-364-3292 or visit To learn more about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit