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)