Keep looking when cooking to avoid kitchen emergency

Photos: Tim Lancaster

Photos: Tim Lancaster

With kitchen fires the largest cause of house fires in NSW, Highlanders are warned to keep looking when cooking.

Fire and Rescue NSW responds to about one call every four minutes, with at least 53 people injured in kitchen fires so far this year.

Kitchen fires can become out of control in a matter of minutes, which is why Fire and Rescue NSW has urged the community to keep looking when cooking.

Kitchen fires can become out of control in a matter of minutes, which is why Fire and Rescue NSW has urged the community to keep looking when cooking.

Kitchen fires represented 45 per cent of all residential fires and more than 30 per cent of injuries.

Burns are tragically significant as they can have considerable consequences on health and well-being, often needing intensive and ongoing medical intervention and long-term rehabilitation. They are also associated with high levels of distress, anxiety and depression.

To avoid kitchen fire catastrophes, FRNSW has warned all Highlanders to keep an eye on their food.

FRNSW community safety and research Chief Superintendent Jeremy Fewtrell said unattended flames or heat sources were the most common cause of kitchen fires.

“It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one,” he said.

“To avoid kitchen fire catastrophes, we urge people to ‘keep looking when cooking’. It’s a simple way to avoid losing your home or even worse, your loved ones or your own life.”

The Keep Looking When Cooking campaign aims to avoid burn by urging people to watch while cooking and prevent an incident from occurring in the first place.

If your pan does catch fire, never use water to put out a fat or oil fire. Turn off the stove, use the lid to cover the flame, get out and stay out, then call 000.

To help spread the message, home cooks can share their own recipes on social media and use the hashtag #KeepLookingWhenCooking and FRNSW will share some of the recipes through its own social media.

However, the kitchen isn’t the only place in the house that poses a danger during the colder months. Chief Superintendent Jeremy Fewtrell said each winter, FRNSW also noticed about a 10 per cent jump in the number of fires that started in bedrooms or loungerooms. “We want to remind people to be careful when using heaters and remember to keep everything in the house ‘a metre from the heater’,” he said.

Stay fire-free this winter

There are several steps community members can take to keep their homes safe and fire-free during winter:

  • Turn off heaters and electric blankets before leaving home or getting into bed
  • Clean lint filters in the clothes dryer before or after each use
  • Don’t overload powerboards
  • Keep candles away from curtains and put them out before leaving the room
  • Don’t use LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors as they can leak and the gas is both toxic and highly explosive.
  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm

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