Guelph Fire offers cooking safety tips ahead of Thanksgiving

How to correctly put out a kitchen grease fire
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Kitchens across Guelph will be pulling extra duty this weekend preparing Thanksgiving feasts, and the Guelph Fire Department doesn’t want to be one of your guests.

Their fire prevention office is reminding residents about fire safety in the kitchen in hopes of reducing the number of related calls this year.

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“Cooking fires are the number one cause of all fires in the home,” assistant chief fire prevention officer Matt Valeriote said in a phone interview. “They account for about 22 per cent of all home fires and more specifically, it’s usually related to cooking left unattended.”

On average, Guelph Fire responds to one to two cooking fires each week per year, and usually they involve oil or grease.

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Valeriote explained the best way to stop a grease fire is to cover it with a tight lid and turn the burner off.

“You never want to put water on a grease fire because a chemical reaction occurs.”

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He also said it is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and to know how to use it properly.

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He cautioned, however, that if someone is uncomfortable with putting out a stovetop fire or if it’s larger than a beach ball, they should evacuate the home, call 911 and do not go back inside.

“If the fire is bigger than a beach ball, then it’s probably at a point where it’s going to start spreading too rapidly,” Valeriote said.

He also urged residents to remove any combustibles away from the stove or the counter next to it while cooking.

Top 10 Thanksgiving cooking questions
Top 10 Thanksgiving cooking questions

Every home also needs to have working smoke detectors.

“It’s the law. People have to have one on every storey of their house and located outside of all common sleeping areas,” Valeriote said.

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As part of Fire Prevention Week, which runs until Friday, Guelph Fire are urging residents to have — and practice — a home fire escape plan.

“We highly recommend that families get together, prepare a fire escape plan and know where all the potential exits are,” Valeriote said.