The Estevan Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging residents to take measures to stop the leading cause of fires in the home.
“Prevent Kitchen Fires” is the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week, which runs from October 6 to 12. Estevan Fire Chief Ron Tocker said that they want to reduce the number of kitchen fires in the community, and to inform the public on what they should do if a fire occurs while preparing food.
“If you think you can't get at it (the fire), by all means, leave,” said Tocker. “Exit the house. Make sure everybody's leaving. Make sure somebody's call 911.”
In the event of a grease fire, people should cover the fire with a lid. Then they should turn off the heat. If an oven or microwave fire occurs, the heat should be turned off and the door should be closed.
Tocker said unattended cooking is the primary cause of kitchen fires. People have forgotten that they have food on the stove, have left the kitchen to tackle household chores while cooking, or have fallen asleep with food on the stove or in the oven.
If people are frying, grilling or broiling food, they're encouraged to stay in the kitchen. When simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, they should stay in the home, check on the food regularly and use a timer.
Tocker also encourages people to keep flammable objects away from the stove, including flannel clothes or really loose clothing.
Local firefighters will be doing more than just promoting the theme during Fire Prevention Week. They'll continue with their smoke alarm program, which will see them check smoke alarms in a subdivision.
The firefighters will visit homes, check the smoke alarms, and, if necessary, replace the alarm or its batteries.
“This is all done by the firefighters,” said Tocker. “There's no charge. Smoke alarms are purchased by donations from businesses.”
Tocker said they have checked all of the homes in Estevan at least once since the smoke alarm program's inception more than a decade ago, and they have been to many homes twice.