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A Fire in the Kitchen!

A fire in the kitchen! My friend Mary's house burned down last week. It was completely destroyed.What a nightmare! There wasn't even a smoke detector. Fortunately her dog Maxwoke her up. Otherwise. She's living with me while waiting for her new home to get built. Yesterday, we invited our friend Phil for supper - he's a fireman.We talked about fire prevention. It seems that everyday life has a lot of fire hazards you wouldn't suspect!

Did you know that some people are dangerous cooks? Mary is a good example. If she received a phone call while she was cooking dinner, she had the annoying habit of leaving the room without turning off the elements on the stove. She's quite a talker. Yakkity yak! She'd often find her potatoes stuck to the bottom of the pan.

I always used to keep baking soda (the box with the cow on it!) near the stove in case a casserole caught fire. Phil told me not to do this. If you throw baking powder on flames, there's a risk of spattering! It's a better idea to keep the lid in reach and cover the pot to snuff out the fire. When there's no air, there's no flame! You also have to shut off the stove element and the hood.

Phil also warned me never to move a burning pan. We could set our clothes on fire. We also shouldn't put the pan in the sink and fill it with water. When water comes into contact with some burning products, like cooking oil, the flames can suddenly get bigger. This could spread the fire and the situation could get worse!

A fire can also start in the oven. Sometimes pies leak when they are baking and you see small flames appear. But the fire might be bigger. You have to leave the oven door closed and shut off the element. Without any air, the fire should go out by itself. However, you should call the fire department at 9-1-1 anyway to check that the fire hasn't spread without your knowledge.

I remember that when my mother used to cook, she'd cover the stove control panel with a cloth to protect it from splatters. This is dangerous! A corner of the cloth could come into contact with a hot element and catch fire.

Last but not least, Phil advised us to have a smoke alarm on every floor of the house, even in the basement. It won't stop a fire. But it willsave lives!!

Prudence Laflamme

With the assistance of the Service de sécurité incendie, Montréal

Last Updated: June 20, 2007

Gouvernement du Québec, 2014
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