ANSBACH, Germany (Oct. 8, 2013) -- This year's National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6 through 12. The theme for this year is "Prevent kitchen fires."

National statistics show that two thirds of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Homeowners should never underestimate the speed and power of fire. A small kitchen fire can turn deadly in a matter of minutes.

Most people assume they have more time to escape than they actually do. When fire strikes, speed is essential. Fires can spread rapidly through the home, engulfing the home in smoke and flames in a few minutes, which makes escaping nearly impossible.

Follow these Fire Safety Tips to avoid stirring up trouble in the kitchen:
• When you fry, grill or broil food, stay in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if you leave the room, even for a short time.
• Stay in your home when you simmer, bake, roast or boil food. Check the food regularly and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
• When you are finished cooking, turn off all burners and ovens.
• Don't use the oven or stove top if you are sleepy or not feeling well.
• Keep things that can catch fire -- like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food product wrappers or boxes and paper towels -- away from your stove top.
• Keep the stove top, burners, oven and exhaust hood clean and grease-free.
• Plug microwave ovens directly into a receptacle. Never use an extension cord, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
• Use only microwave-safe containers to heat food.
• Never use aluminum foil or metal objects in a microwave.

In case a cooking fire breaks out, here are a few ways to handle the fire:
• If a small grease fire has not spread beyond the pan, smother it by carefully sliding a lid or cookie sheet over the pan to completely cover it. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool. NEVER move the pan or throw water on a grease fire!
• For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
• For a microwave fire, shut off the power and keep the door closed.
• If you try to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure others are leaving the home and you have a clear exit path.
• When in doubt, just get outside. Close the door behind you to help contain the fire and call the fire department.

In case of an emergency, the USAG Ansbach Fire and Emergency Services Division can be reached by dialing 09802-83117 for Ansbach-area support or 09841-83117 for Storck Barracks-area support or by calling DSN 117 from a government phone. These numbers should be preprogrammed into cellphones for quick reference.

For Fire Prevention Week, the fire department will be at the Urlas Post Exchange from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11 with a static display. They will have the fire engine outside and will available to answer fire safety questions.

To get more information on fire safety or to schedule a fire safety class, fire extinguisher training or a tour through the fire department, call the USAG Ansbach Fire and Emergency Services Division at 09802-83-2822 or DSN 467-2822. Ask for the fire prevention office or for the fire chief.