WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) announced its STOP Fire Campaign, which addresses residential cooking fire safety for African-Americans, with specific attention to two groups: parents and caregivers of children four to 14-years-old and seniors ages 65 to 85. The campaign’s theme is Fire-Safe Cooking: A Recipe for Saving Lives.

“Food left unattended or a spatter of grease on a stove can cause a massive fire in seconds,” said IABPFF President Joseph Muhammad. “Children and seniors are most vulnerable when a fire occurs, and this campaign will show parents and caregivers ways to prevent these tragedies from happening.”

Across the Unites States, fires continue to disproportionately devastate minority and African-American families despite persistent community initiatives made by the fire departments to implement long-lasting fire prevention programs. The very young and older adults continue to be high-risk groups for fire deaths.

The U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center reported in Fire in the United States 1995-2004 that African-Americans and American Indians have much higher fire death rates per capita than the national average and that African Americans comprise a larger share of total fire deaths, accounting for 24 percent of fire deaths; nearly twice as high as their share of the overall population.

A few tips from the STOP Fire Campaign include:

Most kitchen fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove or in the oven.

Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames, ovens and stove tops. Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.

Heat cooking oils gradually and use extra caution when deep-frying. If a fire breaks out in a pan, put a lid on the pan. Never throw water on a grease fire.

Keep young children at least 3 feet away from any place where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried, such as the oven, stove, or grill.

Plug microwave ovens, toaster ovens, and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.

Have working smoke alarms in your home.

If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll. Stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover face with hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire. Immediately cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes and then seek emergency medical care.

When in doubt, get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
Never go back inside a burning home. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you escape.

Additional tips and information about the campaign are available at www.iabpff.org.