The Williams Lake Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years —to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.
The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires and home fire injuries in British Columbia, according to the Office of the Fire Commissioner.
“We know cooking fires can be prevented,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice-president of outreach and advocacy. “Staying in the kitchen, using a timer and avoiding distractions such as electronics or TV are steps everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes.”
Joan Flaspohler, assistant chief and fire prevention officer with the Williams Lake Fire Department, encourages all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme.
“The most important step you should take before making a meal is to Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” said Flaspohler, noting a lot of people don’t realize the dangerous reaction of putting water on a grease fire.
“A cooking fire can grow quickly. I have seen homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.”
In the case of grease fires, never put water on them. Pouring water on a fire can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire even worse. Vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, which can also spread the fire.
“It’s scary,” she said, adding a grease fire needs to be snuffed out.
Here are some safety tips provided by the Williams Lake Fire Department to keep you from having a cooking fire.
• Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
• You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
• Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking.
If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame.
Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
The BC Fire Training Officers Association, BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC, Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of BC, First Nations’ Emergency Services Society, FortisBC and Office of the Fire Commissioner are hosting a fire and burn prevention contest, with an opportunity to win prizes for students in our community.
Details on the contest, including deadlines, rules and prizes, can be found on the Office of the Fire Commissioners’ website at www.gov.bc.ca/FireSafety/FirePreventionWeek.
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week activities, please contact the Williams Lake Fire Department at 250-392-4321.
For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit www.fpw.org.