It’s Fire Prevention Week, and this year’s fire safety campaign aims to get students spreading the word about preventing kitchen fires.

“Kitchen fires often occur due to someone leaving the kitchen for only a few minutes,” said Philip Teskey, Laurier’s Fire Safety Officer. “Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach students, staff, faculty and community members before they suffer a damaging lesson.”

With 52 per cent of kitchen fires in the province beginning due to unattended cooking, Darren Zettler, Fire Prevention Officer with the Brantford Fire Department, warns students to be cautious when they cook. “You always have the munchies after going out drinking,” said Zettler, but the combination of late nights and alcohol are not optimal conditions to start up the stove. After many incidences of kitchen fires igniting due to people falling asleep with food left on the stove after a night of drinking, Zettler urges students to stop for food before cooking under the influence.

Another major factor in kitchen fires is poor housekeeping. “If you don’t do the dishes for three days and then you decide to set your Tupperware on the stove- you’re in trouble,” Zettler says. Students should aim to leave ignition sources uncluttered, and should always be wiping food and grease off of stoves and burners. “Keep things that burn away from things that get hot.”

If students ever come across a cooking fire, “Never put water on it,” Zettler warned, “If you checkout Youtube there’s some crazy videos of this, they’re like explosive.”

“We’re trying to show people that fire safety is important,” said Mary-Kate Boss, representative for Laurier Brantford’s Residence Life. With Laurier Brantford’s apartment style student residences, it’s vital that students living on their own for the first time understand how to work in the kitchen safely.

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food- if you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. When you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home and use a timer. If you have pets keep them at least three feet away from the stove, when you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves and keep potholders, oven mitts, dish towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop, recommends Laurier’s Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM) department.

“Register for the Emergency Notification System (ENS),” said Special Constable Tammie Maertens. The ENS, which students can register for through LORIS, sends students warnings via text message when any emergencies, including fires, occur on campus.

SHERM is also running a weeklong twitter contest to help students promote kitchen fire prevention around campus.

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