Moree fire fighters encourage residents to keep looking when cooking

BE VIGILANT: Moree Fire and Rescue fire fighter Adam James encourages residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms this winter and to 'keep looking when cooking'.

BE VIGILANT: Moree Fire and Rescue fire fighter Adam James encourages residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms this winter and to 'keep looking when cooking'.

Moree firies are warning local residents to be more vigilant when cooking in order to prevent kitchen fire catastrophes.

According to Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), kitchen fires accounted for 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in New South Wales in 2016.

In Moree last year, there were 27 residential fires where a flame or heat source left unattended was the contributing cause.

“Moree’s in the top 10 in the whole state for house fires,” Moree Fire and Rescue fire fighter Adam James said.

“Most of the undeliberate ones are kitchen fires.”

With kitchen fires the largest single cause of house fires in NSW, FRNSW has launched a new campaign to encourage people to ‘keep looking when cooking’.

The Keep Looking When Cooking campaign seeks to avoid burn injuries from occurring by maintaining a watch on cooking and preventing an incident from occurring in the first place.

Mr James said one of the biggest factors when it comes to kitchen fires is not enough education.

“For example, people need to be aware that they should never use water to put out a fat fire,” he said.

“Instead they should use a lid from the pan to smother it, or a fire blanket, or otherwise a C02 extinguisher if they’re confident in using it. If not, they need to get out, stay out and ring triple zero.”

It takes just three minutes for a fire to take hold, which Mr James said is often a result of the large number of synthetic materials in our houses these days.

“It takes three minutes for it to take hold from a little pot on the stove to the whole kitchen being fully engulfed in flames and the whole house filled with smoke,” he said.

“The smoke at the top of the roof is 600 degrees.”

In addition to being vigilant in the kitchen, residents are also encouraged to take steps to prevent fires in bedrooms and loungerooms which jump by 10 per cent in winter.

Mr James said smoking in bed and putting clothes too close to heaters are two of the big causes of fires outside the kitchen.

“Keeping on top of electrics such as frayed wires and old electrics can help prevent house fires,” he said.

Moree fire station offers free safety checks on smoke alarms and as part of the Keep Looking When Cooking campaign, local firies are giving away wooden spoons with the ‘keep looking when cooking’ message. 

FRNSW has also developed mini-mags, featuring reciples from FRNSW firefighters, which will be available at local cafes and community centres.

The community is encouraged to post their own recipes on social media, using the hashtag #KeepLookingWhenCooking.

For more information, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au.

Kitchen fire statistics:

  • In 2016, kitchen fires represented 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in NSW, with a flame or heat source being left ‘unattended’ being the most common contributing cause.
  • This makes kitchen fires the largest single cause of house fires in NSW.
  • On average, FRNSW firefighters respond to around 3,865 house fires a year. 
  • There are on average 21 house fire fatalities each year and around 502 people injured.
  • Since the beginning of 2017, at least 53 people have been injured in kitchen fires alone.
  • It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.

Key fire safety messages when cooking:

  • Never leave cooking unattended. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove
  • Don’t put anything metallic in the microwave
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • Store flammable items (aerosols, cleaning agents and cooking oil etc) away from heat
  • Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Keep loose clothing, fabrics, tea towels and curtains away from the stove
  • Turn pot handles inwards to avoid being knocked or grabbed by children
  • Keep your oven and rangehood clean. Excess grease and fat can ignite in a fire
  • Don’t use LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors.
  • If your pan catches fire, remember:
    • Never use water to put out a fat or oil fire
    • Turn off the stove and use the lid to cover the flame
    • Get out, stay out and call Triple Zero ‘000’.
  • Never use water to put out a fat or oil fire
  • Turn off the stove and use the lid to cover the flame
  • Get out, stay out and call Triple Zero ‘000’.

Steps to prepare your home against the risk of fire this 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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