This week is Fire Prevention Week throughout North America, and it goes without saying that local residents should be taking that message to heart and doing whatever they can to be fire smart and fire safe.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Cooking safety starts with YOU! Pay attention to fire prevention.”
Numerous house fires start each year in the kitchen, and generally it is a result of human carelessness. Somebody leaves something on the range top like an oven mitt which starts to burn, the fire spreads to some cooking oil, and the next thing you know your entire kitchen wall is on fire and the fire department has to be called– hopefully not too late to save the rest of your house.
It becomes particularly dangerous in multiple unit dwellings such as apartments or condos where a person can easily become trapped in their own unit as the fire spreads and room fills up with choking smoke. If you are on an upper storey floor, you might not even be able to get out of the building in time if the fire and smoke spreads fast enough, not to mention the danger to other units around you.
All it can take is a moment of inattention or carelessness in the kitchen and you might find your person and your property in imminent jeopardy.
The tips are simple. Keep flammable items or materials away from your stove top. Keep an eye on your cooking at all times, and avoid the temptation to wander off somewhere, even if it is “Just for a moment.”
Be extremely careful while cooking with oil, and keep a fire extinguisher close to you in the kitchen, making sure it is not expired. Have working smoke detectors, and keep small kids and other distractions out of the kitchen while you are preparing that family meal.
It all seems so simple, but the fact is kitchen fires remain the leading cause of house fires, fire injuries and fire deaths in Canada by quite a long margin.
So despite all the campaigns out there about being kitchen fire aware and fire safe, it appears a lot of Canadians are still not getting the message.
That needs to change.