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Kitchen fires focus of National Fire Prevention Week

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 6:52 AM EDT
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SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - COVID has spurred a lot more home cooking, which comes with it a much higher risk of kitchen fires. We’re in the middle of National Fire Prevention Week, and those kitchen fires are the theme.

Toledo Fire and Rescue has tips on what to do, and what not to do when there’s too much heat in the kitchen.

According to TFRD’s Pvt. Sterling Rahe, kitchen fires are one of the leading causes of blazes across the country. During the pandemic, that number is rising.

Rahe says the trickiest kitchen fire is an oil-based one. Most people throw water on it, which only makes the flames grow. Instead, Rahe recommends putting the lid on the pot to smother the flame.

If the blaze is too big to get that close, a fire extinguisher is a safer way to go. When using it, stand back. If you’re too close, the compressed air can cause the oil to jump, and it can burn you or ignite other surfaces.

If your fire starts spreading to other surfaces, get out and call 911.

But the most important thing is to prevent the fires from starting in the first place.

“Don’t leave any cooking unattended. Don’t walk out of the room. And it sounds kind of maybe over the top, but it’s not. These fires happen very quickly. Nationally, there are around 160,000-165,000 fires each year that are attributed to cooking fires. Most of those are unattended,” says Rahe.

There have already been nearly 2,400 cooking fires in Ohio this year alone. That’s nearly 300 more than the entire 2019 year.

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