London fire officials are sounding the alarm after a rash of cooking fires in recent months.
Since the beginning of October, firefighters have battled eight such blazes. In two recent fires, there were no working smoke alarms inside the home.
The main reason is unattended or distracted cooking.
Despite increased efforts to educate Londoners, officials feel as though the message is not getting through to many people.
While cooking, people are urged to stay with the stove or barbecue and ‘look while you cook.’
If you need to leave for whatever reason, turn the burner off and move the pot or pan from the hot burner.
Only resume cooking when you are able to pay full attention to it.
If a small fire does occur have the lid for the pot nearby, put on an oven mitt and slide the lid onto the pot to smother the fire and call 911.
“These fires are all preventable,” says Chief Fire Prevention Office Wendy Cowdrey.
“Going into the holiday season, the number of preventable cooking fires may rise as more people get together and celebrate over a meal. There’s also the increased likelihood that
some people will cook while impaired by alcohol. Alcohol and cooking can be deadly combinations,” Cowdrey says.
The same holds true for smoking, as a number of the recent fires have been caused by careless smoking.
Fire officials say modern furniture and building materials ignite and burn very quickly because of padding and cushions that contain petrochemicals.
Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and near any sleeping areas.
Practicing fire drills in the home is also recommended, especially if you have young children.