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Spotlight on kitchen fires

By Duane Hicks, Fort Frances Times Ltd.

It’s Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is “Preventing Kitchen Fires”—with good reason as these are the most common type.
Fire safety specialist Capt. Wayne Riches, of the Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service, said his number-one tip is never leave your cooking unattended.
“The biggest thing is people just don’t pay attention,” said Capt. Riches.
“They’ve got something on the stove, the phone rings, somebody comes to the door, and they walk away and forget about it,” he noted.
“It’s happens to everybody.
“One of the things we recommend is if you have to step away from the stove, either you turn the element off or you set a timer,” Capt. Riches added.
“So that way, the timer will alert you to get back to the stove.
“Five minutes, 10 minutes, set the timer,” he urged. “If you forget about it, the timer goes off—that will work really well.
“It just reminds you you’ve got something on the stove.”
Capt. Riches said it’s also wise to keep your cooking area free of clutter, especially flammable materials such as dish towels, cloths, and paper towels.
It helps, as well, to use appropriate cooking appliances and keep them clean.
“If you can keep stovetops free of grease and flammable liquids, then there’s less chance, if something does ignite, of fire spreading to areas where there is build-up,” he explained.
Other tips include:
•keep a pot cover nearby to “put a lid on it” in the event of a fire;
•avoid wearing loose long sleeves when cooking;
•check kettles and toasters for damaged electrical cords and thermostats;
•if possible, use appliances that have an automatic shut-off;
•use a temperature-controlled electric skillet or deep-fryer for frying; and
•if you take medication that causes drowsiness, do not use cooking appliances.
The fire department hosted a fire safety day this past Saturday at Canadian Tire.
As well, firefighters are visiting local elementary schools this week to talk to JK-Grade 2 students about fire safety.

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