You need to keep an eye on the heat if you don’t want to burn down the kitchen. Image: State Farm via Flickr
Have you ever watched a fire take hold? We’re not talking about small camp fires. We’re talking serious infernos, the kind that reach 900 degrees Celsius and melt your kitchen table into a puddle in just a few minutes. It’s confronting stuff and it makes you realise just how quickly a frying pan can become a catastrophe.
Today is the first day of winter, the season when the risk of house fires peak. In New South Wales alone, between the months of June and September, firefighters respond to about 1,230 house fires, leaving 576 people injured. Almost half of these fires start in the kitchen and it can take just three minutes for the fire to take hold.
Last week, Fire & Rescue NSW firefighters set ablaze a makeshift kitchen at our fire science labs in Sydney. You can see the scenario play out – someone cooking a meal answers the phone. In just a few minutes the pot on the stove bursts into flames, which quickly engulfs the whole kitchen.
Note: you may find this video confronting.
While we blast the heaters, fire-up the electric blankets and just generally try to stay warm and snuggly this winter, here are 7 simple things you should be doing to prevent a fire at home:
- Remember Fire & Rescue NSW’s key message this winter – keep looking when cooking.
- Turn off heaters and electric blankets before leaving home or getting into bed
- Keep everything one metre from your heater
- Clean lint filters in the clothes dryer before or after each use
- Don’t overload power points and power boards
- Keep candles well away from curtains and put them out before leaving the room
- Never smoke in bed
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