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Loss Control

National Fire Prevention Week Is October 8-14

October 5, 2023

It had been a dry summer and early fall. Then, on the evening of October 8, 1871, a fire broke out in a barn on Chicago’s southwest side and quickly spread. The Great Chicago Fire burned for two days, killing hundreds of people, destroying thousands of buildings and leaving 30% of the population homeless.

Fire Prevention Week is observed nationally every October in remembrance of this devastating event. During the week, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the goal is to teach people how to prevent fires and reduce fire-related injuries and casualties.

Cooking Safety at Home and Work

This year, cooking safety is the focus of Fire Prevention Week, which takes place October 8-14. While the week focuses mainly on families and homes, it is important to remember that cooking occurs in the workplace, too. Employers often provide microwaves so workers can heat their lunches. They sometimes host special events where managers or employees grill food.

So, consider the following safety tips from the NFPA, whether at home or work.


  • Do not leave the kitchen while the stovetop is on. Unattended cooking is the chief cause of kitchen fires.
  • Remain in the building, use a timer and check food in the oven regularly during cooking.
  • Keep flammables (e.g., towels, food packaging, wooden utensils, curtains) away from the stovetop.
  • If something on the stovetop catches fire, turn off the burner and cover the pan with a lid.
  • If something in the oven catches fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

For more about cooking safety and this year’s fire prevention campaign, click here.


  • Place the microwave oven at a safe height for all users to reduce the chance of scald burns.
  • Plug the appliance directly into an electrical outlet. Do not use extension cords.
  • Use only microwave-safe containers, and always open heated items away from your face.
  • Don’t heat baby bottles in the microwave. Microwaves heat unevenly; hot pockets can cause burns.
  • If a fire occurs, leave the microwave door closed and unplug it. If the fire doesn’t die, go outside and call 911.

To read more NFPA microwave safety tips, click here.


  • Use charcoal and propane grills outdoors only.
  • Keep pets and children a minimum of three feet from the grill.
  • Keep grills away from buildings, deck railings, eaves and landscaping.
  • Remove grease build-up from the grill and any trays below the grill.
  • Never leave a grill unattended.

For more NFPA grilling safety tips, click here.

Learn More About Fire Safety

To learn more about fire safety, view fire codes and standards, access training materials and more, visit the NFPA website. If you have questions about your insurance policy as it relates to fire, contact your insurance agent.

Related Reading: The National Fire Prevention Association

The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.

Authored by

Beverlie Cote

Beverlie Cote

Risk Advisor - Casualty Loss Control

Beverlie has 20 years of experience in environmental, health and safety within automotive, food manufacturing, agriculture, education Japanese and Chinese companies and life sciences. Beverlie partners with commercial clients in strategic casualty loss control by reviewing the client’s loss history and developing actionable objectives and goals to improve their program and systems.

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