The Star (St. Lucia) - - HOME SAFETY - How to pre­vent cook­ing fires: If a pan catches fire: Deep fat fry­ing: Can­dles and naked flames: Electrics Smok­ing

More fires and fire in­juries are caused in the kitchen than any­where else in the home. Tak­ing a few sim­ple mea­sures can make all the dif­fer­ence. • Avoid leav­ing cook­ing unat­tended. • Don’t cook if you are tired, have been drink­ing al­co­hol or tak­ing med­i­ca­tion that might make you drowsy. • Take care not to lean over hot hobs and keep tea tow­els and cloths away from the cooker and hob. • Be care­ful to keep the oven, hob, cooker hood and grill clean to avoid a buildup of fat and grease, which could ig­nite and cause a fire. • Use spark de­vices to light gas cook­ers - they are much safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame. • Dou­ble check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve fin­ished cook­ing. • Check toast­ers are clean and placed away from any­thing that can catch fire. • Never put any­thing me­tal in the mi­crowave. • Never use a bar­be­cue in­doors or on a bal­cony - burn­ing or smoul­der­ing fuel can cause car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing. • Su­per­vise chil­dren and pets in the kitchen at all times and keep matches and saucepan han­dles out of reach. • Don’t tackle the fire your­self and don’t at­tempt to move the pan. • Never throw wa­ter over a fire as it could cre­ate a fire­ball. • Turn off the heat, if it is safe to do so. • Leave the room, close the door, shout a warn­ing to oth­ers and call 911. • Take care when cook­ing with hot oil - it can easily over­heat and catch fire. • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil. • Make sure food is dry be­fore putting it in hot oil. • If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. • Use an elec­tronic deep fat fryer if pos­si­ble - they have built-in ther­mostats to con­trol the tem­per­a­ture. Can­dles, in­cense and oil burn­ers are one of the big­gest causes of fire within homes. Al­ways keep an eye on these items to keep you and your home safe. • Al­ways use a heat re­sis­tant holder on a sta­ble sur­face, which won’t be knocked over. • Tea lights can melt through plas­tic sur­faces like a TV or bath • Keep these items away from ma­te­ri­als that may catch fire such as cur­tains, fur­ni­ture, clothes and hair. • Make sure you put out any can­dles, in­cense and oil burn­ers when you leave the room and es­pe­cially be­fore bed. • Keep out of reach of chil­dren and pets. Many elec­tri­cal fires can be avoided by fol­low­ing some sim­ple ac­tions: • Don’t use im­i­ta­tion elec­tri­cal charg­ers as they may be un­safe. • Make sure elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances have a recog­nised safety mark when you buy them • Keep elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances clean and in good work­ing or­der. • Un­plug­ging ap­pli­ances and charg­ers when you are not us­ing them or when you go to bed helps re­duce the risk of fire • Hair straight­en­ers can get ex­tremely hot. Al­ways switch them off and leave them to cool on a heat­proof sur­face. • For plugs that do not come fit­ted to the ap­pli­ance, al­ways check you’re us­ing the right fuse. • Keep to one plug per socket. • If you use an adap­tor, use a fused ‘in line’ type. The adap­tor or ex­ten­sion lead will have a limit of how much power it can safely pro­vide so be care­ful not to over­load sock­ets. • If us­ing a ca­ble drum ex­ten­sion lead, it should be com­pletely un­wound to avoid over­heat­ing. • Re­mem­ber: scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sock­ets, fuses that blow or cir­cuit-break­ers that trip for no ob­vi­ous rea­sons could be signs of loose or dan­ger­ous wiring. How to pre­vent smok­ing re­lated fires: • Never smoke in bed. • Don’t smoke in a soft chair or sofa if you think you may fall asleep. • Take ex­tra care when you’re tired, tak­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs, or if you’ve been drink­ing al­co­hol. • Use a proper ash­tray that can’t tip over and is made of a ma­te­rial that won’t burn. • Make sure you have enough ash­trays to avoid any over­flow. • Don’t leave a lit cig­a­rette, cigar, or pipe ly­ing around. • Stub cig­a­rettes out prop­erly and al­ways dis­pose of them care­fully. • Make sure smok­ing ma­te­ri­als are cold be­fore emp­ty­ing ash­trays - prefer­ably wet them be­fore throw­ing them into a bin, • Only smoke legally man­u­fac­tured cig­a­rettes. • Keep matches and lighters out of chil­dren’s reach and al­ways buy child re­sis­tant lighters. • Never smoke if you use med­i­cal oxy­gen, or an air flow pres­sure re­lief mat­tress. • If you use paraf­fin-based emol­lient creams, ask for non­flammable al­ter­na­tives. • Con­sider ad­di­tional spe­cial­ist equip­ment such as fire re­tar­dant bed­ding or nightwear.

In the event of a fire, keep your cool and don’t panic.

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