Cooking-related Fires are on the Rise
In the last six months, Rancho Cucamonga Firefighters have responded to an increase in cooking-related emergencies. Whether it be burnt food on the stove or a small fire in the oven, the fires have been kept small and the damage minimal. But there have been a lot of "near misses." The fires certainly could have grown into something much more destructive had the cooking been left unattended longer or lack of working smoke alarms alerting the residents.
Firefighters share the following safety tips to avoid a fire from cooking or barbecuing:
- Be alert and keep an eye on what's on the stove as well as in the oven or microwave. Stay in the kitchen when frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food; if you need to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- Simmering, baking or roasting food can take a long time, and it's easy to get distracted by other household tasks or caring for children. Setting a timer will remind you to check on your cooking.
- Keep oven mitts handy, but not too close to your stovetop. Also avoid leaving towels, food packaging, plastic containers, as well as wooden and plastic utensils near the stovetop since these may easily catch fire.
- Your oven or broiler tray should not be used to store pots, pans or plastic food containers because it's easy to forget they're in there. When turning on the oven, it takes only a short time before they reach temperatures at which plastic handles or containers will melt or burn.
- When cooking or barbecuing, its best to keep a kid and pet free zone of 3 feet around the stove or grill.
- Keep your grill, stovetop and oven clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the cook surface and trays below.
- Make sure barbecue coals are completely extinguished and cold before disposing them, preferably in a metal trash can.
If you do experience a cooking fire, first and foremost remain calm. Turn off the stove, oven or grill if it is safe to do so. Cover pots with a lid to contain and snuff out the fire; don't carry them as that will only make the situation worse. Oftentimes, pouring water on the pan will spread the fire as well - especially in the case of grease fires.
Follow this advice and firefighters won't be crashing your dinner party or backyard barbecue. You can find more safety tips on our website at www.RCFire.org or follow us on social media.