Take Care and Be Aware when Cooking

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Two small kitchen fires this week have prompted Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) to remind residents to take care and be aware when cooking.

Firefighters responded to calls on both Sunday and Monday, in different areas of town, involving cooking pots that caught fire on the stove. In both incidents, the fire was contained before significant damage occurred.

“Kitchen fires can happen quickly,” said Fire Chief David Lind. “If left unattended and forgotten about, even something as simple as cooking a pot of rice can turn into a fire emergency. This weekend was a reminder for everyone to be cautious while cooking and always be prepared to respond to an emergency.”

Here are some tips for safety in the kitchen:

Don’t walk away. Pay close attention to your cooking.

  • Whether you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food, stay in the kitchen when preparing a meal. If you do have to leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly. It is best to remain in the home while food is cooking.
  • Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Remember, it’s not only food that can catch fire. Keep flammable items away from the stove while cooking. This includes: oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains.

Be prepared. Sometimes fires can happen, even if you are paying attention.

  • Always have a plan for how to respond to a fire your home.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean.
  • Your kitchen should have a fire extinguisher stored in an easily accessible place. Remember to check the expiration date of the fire extinguisher and replace when necessary.

What to do. If you have any doubt, get out and call 911. However, if a small (grease) cooking fire does occur, here are some tips to extinguish the flames.

  • On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a well-fitting lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire, get out and call 911.

Kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries, according to the Government of Canada.

For more information on how to prevent fire in the home, visit the Government of Canada website and download the home fire prevention booklet.