Kitchen fires are a leading cause of residential fires in Canada. (Elton Oliver/Unsplash)

Kitchen fires are a leading cause of residential fires in Canada. (Elton Oliver/Unsplash)

Fire precautions needed in the kitchen

Safety tips as holiday baking, cooking season approaches

With more people about to spend more time in the kitchen as the holiday season approaches, officials are issuing a call to take extra precautions.

And statistics indicate that cooking is the leading cause of residential fires.

Grease fires are a frequent source of fires in the kitchen, leading District of Houston fire chief Jim Daigneault to say that water should never be poured onto a grease fire.

“This may cause the grease to spread and make the fire worse than it might’ve otherwise been,” said Daigneault.

“Instead, if a grease fire occurs, you should smother the fire by covering it with a lid or another pan. Be sure to also turn off the heat, but do not remove the pot or pan from the stove.”

And people working close to a stove should also avoid loose-fitting clothing as it can more easily catch fire than tight-fitting clothing.

Other fire safety tips include:

– Items that can catch fire should be kept away from heat sources. This includes dishcloths, pot holders and paper towels. Keep them a safe distance away from the stove.

– Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking. Keeping a close watch on food in the oven and on the stove will enable you to react more quickly if fire catches.

– Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. Fire extinguishers should also be checked to ensure they have not gone past their expiry date.

– Regular maintenance and cleaning are critical — dried food or grease buildup can contribute to fires and burns.

– Make sure there is a smoke detector in the kitchen. If battery-powered, change those batteries once a year, test the detector regularly and replace it when it approaches its expiry date.

(with files from the Canada Safety Council)