Kitchens the leading cause of house fires
Oct 5, 2013 / 8:42 am
Next week is Fire Prevention Week across BC and local fire departments want to remind people kitchen fires are the leading cause of fires in the home.
The campaign is 'Prevent Kitchen Fires,' and this year the focus is on providing families and communities with the knowledge to identify potential fire and burn risks in the kitchen and be prepared if a fire or other emergency should occur.
Both Kelowna and West Kelowna Fire departments have put together several tips to stop kitchen fires before they start.
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food
- When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, stay in the home, check food regularly, and use a timer to remind you the stove/oven is on
- If you must leave –even for a short time– turn off the stove/oven
- Keep anything that can burn a safe distance away from the stove
- Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop
- Wear short, tight-fighting, or tightly-rolled sleeves. If clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll over and over or back and forth to put the fire out
- Be ready to react fast to a cooking fire!
- When in doubt, just get out!
- If you try to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure others are leaving the home, someone is calling the fire department, and you have a clear exit path
- If a small grease fire starts, slide a lid over the pan, turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool
- For an oven or microwave fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed
- Have a working CO2 monitor
Gayanne Pacholzuk, Fire Prevention Officer with the Kelowna Fire Department, says crews are continually being dispatched to reports of smoke coming from homes or apartments caused from cooking materials.
She says smoke damage alone can force people from their home for some time.
"I know one where a lady had beans. She went outside, did something, came back in and the house was full of smoke," says Pacholzuk.
"The smoke damage alone was astronomical. From cleaning clothes to cleaning furniture to cleaning carpets and walls. She was out of her house."
Just last week fire crews were called to reports of an apartment fire on Water Street.
It turned out to be an unattended pot on a stove. Fire fighters went into the apartment and turned off the pot.
Turned out nobody was in the apartment at the time.
"If it goes long enough depending what is in that pot or pan your kitchen is going to catch on fire," says Pacholzuk.
"And, it can happen in just a few minutes."
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