Cooking is a great way to express your creativity, nourish your body, and impress your friends and family. But did you know that cooking is also the number one cause of home fires and injuries in Canada? That's right, every time you turn on the stove, you are taking a risk of starting a fire that could damage your property or harm your loved ones.
Halton Hills Fire Department is raising awareness about cooking safety as part of Fire Prevention Week ™ from October 8-14, 2023. The theme of this year's campaign is "Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention™," and it aims to educate everyone about how to prevent cooking fires and what to do if they happen.
Here are some of the key messages from the Halton Hills Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week:
- If you are sleepy or consume alcohol, don't use the stove or stovetop. You might forget about your food or lose control of your movements.
- Remain in the kitchen while frying, boiling, or grilling food. These methods produce high heat and can quickly cause a fire if left unwatched.
- Check food regularly that is simmering, baking, or roasting. Use a timer to remind you when your food is done and don't get distracted by other tasks or devices.
- Keep flammable items away from your stovetop. This includes paper towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils, curtains, and clothing. They can easily catch fire if they come in contact with a burner or a hot pan.
- Smother stovetop flames by placing a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Don't try to put out a grease fire with water or move the pan to the sink. This will only make the fire bigger and spread it to other areas.
If you follow these tips, you can enjoy cooking safely and avoid fire hazards. But if a fire does happen, don't panic. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and others:
- If the fire is small and contained, use a fire extinguisher to put it out. Make sure you know how to use it properly and aim at the base of the fire.
- If the fire is large or spreading, get out of the house immediately and call 911 from a safe location. Don't try to fight the fire yourself or go back inside for any reason.
- If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to the nearest exit. Close doors behind you to slow down the spread of fire and smoke.
- Once you are outside, stay outside until the Fire Department arrives and tells you it is safe to go back in.
These are some of the things you can learn from the Halton Hills Fire Department's displays at local hardware stores during Fire Prevention Week. They will be there from October 8 – 14, giving out useful information on how to make a Home Fire Escape Plan and talking to people about fire safety. To know when they will be available, follow them on Twitter at @HaltonHillsFD.
Remember, cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention!