UTICA, N.Y. --- Across the country, fire prevention week kicks off. It's a time when normally fire departments across the country will be spreading the word on fire safety, whether that's at their departments or in schools. But the pandemic has forced fire departments to use different ways.
"We've branched out to media and we've branched out to the internet to still get the message out there," said Puleo.
Puleo said the department plans on sending out informational videos for the schools to play by the end of the week.
This year's theme focuses on cooking safety in the kitchen. Since the pandemic started, the Utica Fire Department has reported an increase in kitchen-related fires. The department attributes the increase of people staying home to cook as the likely cause of the increase.
The department is urging people to change the batteries on their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they're working. Also, speak to your kids about fire safety and make sure a plan is in place at your home in case a far occurs.
"We just need to be cognizant of the safety within the home. Safety with our children, making sure we're having lessons. Making sure we're getting out of the house if there is a fire. Making sure we're having lessons about cooking safety. Talk to your kids about being safe in the home and being safe with any kind of fires," said Puleo.
The UFD wants to share the following safety tips to help prevent cooking fires;
Never leave cooking food 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.
You have to 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.
Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.