HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – In the spirit of Fire Prevention Week, local fire departments are offering tips on how to prevent house fires.

Lieutenant Patrick Stapleton with the Huntington Fire Department says a majority of residential fires start in the kitchen. The main cause is people not paying attention while cooking or not being prepared when they accidentally start a fire.

“People will start to cook and they’ll go let their dogs out or they’ll go check on their kids. It happens quite often. We all do it,” Stapleton says Monday evening.

According to the United States Fire Administration, from 2017 to 2021 the national estimates for residential building cooking fires and losses include around 170,000 different fires resulting in 135 deaths, 3,000 injuries, and around $494,000,000 in damages.

The goal for many fire departments is to spread awareness to make sure people are prepared so those numbers will go down.

Stapleton says it’s important to follow these tips:

  • When cooking, always stay with your food. If you’re cooking, stay in the kitchen.
  • Always watch what you’re cooking. If you start to see smoke or grease boiling, turn you’re burner down because it’s getting too hot.
  • Have a lid nearby for your pot or skillet, so if you do have a small cooking fire, you can cover it up and it will go out.
  • Have a fire extinguisher somewhere inside your kitchen and know where it is at all times.

Keeping these tips in mind, officials also encourage residents to make sure their smoke detectors are working properly. If they’re not working or you need a replacement, many fire departments offer free smoke detectors, and some will even install them in your home.

Making these necessary preparations can help prevent a house fire from occurring because a recipe for a great meal does not include a 911 call.