The biggest fire hazard is something most of us use everyday. Its routine use is probably the reasons why many fires start there.
Panama City Beach Fire Rescue, like many other fire departments around the country, is focusing on protecting people from fires by participating in Fire Prevention Week.
"Believe it or not kitchen fires are the number one way how home fires start," said Capt. Joe Cocco, Panama City Beach Fire Rescue.
Fires can happen quickly and when you least expect it.
"You know we get so busy, I think people at home were cooking something and are going to answer the phone.. Or do laundry.. Or help the kids with homework.. Then they forget about it," said Cocco.
It is important to know the risks and prepare ahead of time.
"The National Fire Prevention Association wants us to remind folks to watch what they heat or stay in the kitchen when you're cooking. Watch the flammables around the stove like paper towels, pot holders, dish towels."
Things like unattended clothes dryers, smoking materials, dusty heating units and even candles could cause damage too. The action plan is the same for any type of fire.
"Having a written fire escape plan.. that's two ways out of each room. Have a family meeting place out front where the fire department will pull up, so they can do a head count and make sure everyone safely got out of the house."
Once you have a plan, practice makes perfect.
"Then you need to do a family fire drill, that sounds kind of corny, but you want to prepare your family with actually what you are going to do incase of a fire."
This is also the time of year to check the batteries in your smoke detector to make sure it is working properly.
Panama City Beach Fire Rescue did have an open house scheduled for this past weekend but because of the threat of bad weather. They postponed the event to November 9th.
These tips are from the American Red Cross:
KEEP AN EYE ON WHAT YOU FRY— The cook should not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. They should also stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If they must leave the kitchen, for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.
Other ways to avoid cooking fires include the following:
Fires can start when the heat is too high. When frying food, if the cook sees smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
Turn pot handles to the back of the stove so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
Move things that can burn away from the stove – items such as dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire.
THE PAN IS ON FIRE— If the pan catches fire, don't move it. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to take the air away and put the fire out. Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on the pan until it cools. Never try to stop a grease or oil fire with water – it will only make the fire bigger.
OVEN, MICROWAVE FIRES— If something catches fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so firefighters can make sure the fire didn't spread to the walls. If a fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave if you can. Don't use it until a repairman checks it.
STOP, DROP AND ROLL— If a fire occurs and someone's clothes are on fire, they should stop where they are immediately, drop to the floor, cover their face with their hands and roll over and over to suffocate the flames. Keep doing it until the fire is out.
JUST GET OUT— Leave the home and call the fire department from outside. Make sure everyone in the home gets out – fast. Once outside, stay out. Never go back inside a burning building.
MAKE A PLAN The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.