Fire Prevention Week: How to Prevent Cooking Fires
Running from now until October 12, it’s Fire Prevention Week here in the city. We use this time to help educate and inform our citizens on how to use safe fire practices and prevent any unnecessary accidents. Today, we will focus on how to prevent cooking fires and how to extinguish them if they do happen to occur.
“Most cooking fires start in the kitchen from overheated cooking oil or food left cooking on the stovetop unattended. An average of 1.2 cooking fires occur every day in our city,” says the City of Calgary(2016). Therefore, it’s important to stay alert in the kitchen while cooking and never leave your food unattended. If you’re tired, intoxicated or on medication that does not allow you to be completely alert, it may be best to have a cold dinner or food that does not require the stove to be used. If you do decide to use the stove for your dinner, heat your cooking oil slowly and keep it below 200 degrees Celsius. It’s important to check your food regularly so that it does not burn or catch on fire. A good way to avoid this is setting a timer for when it should be finished and checking on it before it’s too late.
Cooking fires are often caused by distractions around the stove. To ensure everyone’s safety, it’s important to keep your cooking area clear of children, pets and any flammable materials. Items like potholders, dish towels, excess packaging, shirt sleeves, aprons, etc. can catch on fire if they are loose in the kitchen. To be safe, roll up your sleeves, tie back any loose hair, warn people that you are using the stove and to stay back unless they need something in the kitchen immediately.
If you do end up having a cooking fire in your kitchen, there are many measures you can take to put it out safely:
- Keep the pot/pan on the stove and slide a lid over the top to smother the flames if possible.
- Turn off the heat and the overhead fan if it was on so that it does not continue to spread any flames or gases further around the home.
- Follow this above procedure for a grease fire, as water would only make it worse. If it is a very small grease fire, baking soda can also help extinguish the flames.
- If it is an oven fire, keep the door closed and turn off the heat to keep the flames and smoke from escaping.
- If it is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug it if is safe to do so.
Overall, you need to stay calm if a fire occurs in your kitchen. Determine what kind of fire has occurred, how to safely put it out and only follow the procedures above if it is safe to do so. If the fire has managed to get out of control, exit your home immediately and call the fire department so they can get a handle on the situation as soon as possible. Fire Prevention Week is here to help you stay safe, wherever you happen to be cooking.