Over the past few weeks, fire and rescue crews have battled numerous cooking-related fires. Prince William County Fire and Rescue System Acting Chief Tim Keen urges residents to take the necessary precautions when cooking due to cooking fires being the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Cooking fires are preventable by simply being more attentive when using cooking materials and equipment.
Look When You Cook
- Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food.
- Turn off the stove, even if you leave the kitchen for a short period of time.
- Remain in the home, If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food.
- Check it regularly.
- Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Use oven mitts when cooking or handling hot food and drinks.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove, i.e. oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains.
- NEVER throw water on a grease fire! If possible, cover the pot/pan with a lid and smother the fire.
- Have a kid-free zone of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried.
If you have a cooking fire
- Just Get Out! DO NOT attempt to fight the fire!
- More than half of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when people tried to fight the fire themselves.
- When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number AFTER you leave.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires.
- Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan.
- Turn off the stovetop.
- Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire:
- Turn off the heat.
- Keep the oven door closed.
Chief Keen would like to remind residents to install smoke alarms in the bedrooms and throughout every level of the home; working smoke alarms save lives (www.pwcgov.org/SmokeAlarms). You double your chances of surviving a home fire with working smoke alarms compared to homes without working smoke alarms.