The Skowhegan Fire Department plans to team up with State Farm and the National Fire Protection Association to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Cooking Safety Starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention.”

This year’s campaign, which runs Sunday through Saturday, Oct. 8-14, works to educate families about simple but important steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe.

Skowhegan State Farm agent Donald Skillings, left, and Capt. Rick Caldwell of Skowhegan Fire Department. Submitted photo

“Cooking fires are the leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire injuries. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign works to highlight when and where cooking fires happen most often, along with simple ways to minimize those risks,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy, according to a news release from State Farm and Skillings Insurance Agency.

Skowhegan Fire Department’s Capt. Rick Caldwell and local State Farm agent Donald Skillings encourage all residents to cook with caution. In support of those efforts, Skillings recently donated a Fire Prevention Week kit to the fire department, which includes home fire safety and prevention activities and information for children and adults.

“State Farm encourages homeowners to make fire prevention an important part of their overall home safety plan. Fire Prevention Week reminds that cooking with caution should be at the top of the list. This also is a good time to check your smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning,” said Skillings.

Skowhegan Fire Department shared the following cooking safety tips through this year’s campaign:


• Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent spills and burns.

• Always keep a lid nearby when cooking on the stove. If a small fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.

• Stay in the kitchen while frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• If simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

• Keep kids and pets 3 feet (1 meter) from the stove/oven and where hot foods and liquids are being served.

• Watch what you heat. Set a timer to remind you that you are cooking.


• Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stove top.

• Be alert. If you are tired or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove/oven.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, visit


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