Your Place: Some seasonal fire-safety tips

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

This job can be so educational. This week, the lessons involve fire safety in areas around the home in which cooking is done.

That could be in the kitchen, or outside at the grill on the patio or the deck.

Did you know that every 4.5 minutes, a fire department responds to a kitchen fire?

The National Fire Protection Association reported that U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 162,400 home structure fires each year in which cooking equipment is involved.

Liberty Mutual Insurance says 45 percent of consumers are distracted by television or music while they are cooking.

With 56 percent of people planning to cook for family or friends this year, there’s sure to be distracted summer barbecuing.

The following warnings are offered by the manufacturer of FireAvert, a device that shuts electric stoves off automatically in case of fire.

—Always have a fire extinguisher around kitchens and grills, and make sure your family knows how to use it.

—Be sure to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. They should be tested regularly to make sure they are working.

—Make sure your family knows an exit plan to use for escape if a fire starts.

—If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second timer. It’s an inexpensive backup method, ensuring that your summer dishes do not overcook.

—Always keep your grill a safe distance from your house.

—It’s always a good idea to keep a splatter mat underneath your grill, especially when it is set on a wooden patio or a deck that’s connected to your home.

Speaking of fire dangers, when storms knock out the power, lots of people turn to the candles Thomas Edison made electric lightbulbs to replace.

—Put those candles in sturdy holders and on flat surfaces, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends.

—Make sure the candles are positioned at least 12 inches away from anything that also can burn.

—Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

—Blow out lit candles when you leave the room, get sleepy, or go to bed.