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Fire Department Stressing Safe Distancing & Cooking Safety While Home

With the threat of COVID-19 forcing many area families to stay at home, the fire department wants to remind residents about the CRITICAL importance of practicing fire safety in the kitchen.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. This applies not only to adults cooking but children as well. 

“During the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) many children may find themselves home throughout the day while parents and/or guardians are at work,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “We as a department want families to be safe not only from this virus, but also from the risks created as a result of this pandemic.”

Children cooking at home without a parent or guardian can raise the risk of a fire happening.  This can be caused by unattended cooking and/or not practicing safety precautions while preparing food. 

To keep you and your family safe and protect your property from the threat of fire — we encourage you to follow these guidelines: 

  • Have an adult or responsible person cook for children while you are away from home. This could by a babysitter, older sibling, neighbor, etc.
  • To prevent children from cooking, have prepared meals at home for them during this time.
  • Whenever possible, have your child use a microwave to heat food rather than use the stove.
  • KEEP aluminum foil out of the microwave and plastics out of the oven.

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
  • Leave a safety area of at least 3 feet around the stove while hot items are being prepared. This will help prevent young children from suffering burns.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids.
  • Keep a Class A-B-C Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher close to your stove in the event you have a grease fire.
  • IF A GREASE FIRE OCCURS DO NOT USE WATER TO EXTINGUISH IT! Smother the flames with a lid cover and turn off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. If the grease fire is in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off.

Columbia Richland Fire continues to be committed to keeping our residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.