Fire Dept. urges caution around home fire safety during pause order


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With more people staying at home, there has been an uptick in fires. Rochester Fire Chief Willie Jackson said since people aren’t eating out during the pandemic – they are cooking a lot more at home. If you’re not careful you could set your home on fire.

According to Jackson, their calls specifically to fires have increased 25% since the start of the pandemic. He believes it could be because people are doing more indoors. Such as using things such as candles – recreational fires in the backyard – grilling.

The chief says unattended cooking is the biggest cause of fires nationwide. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of all reported home fires involving cooking equipment. Moreover, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, meaning that home cooking fires occur most often when people aren’t keeping a close eye on what they’re cooking.

“Just general fire safety.  making sure that everyone’s home you have an exit plan, that you can get out of the house, very easily know where to meet. you know you have a plan to call 911, fast we can get there at a quicker pace we can extinguish the fire and put it out,” said Jackson.  “Those are some of the things that we are experiencing during this covid crisis while people are at home. “

The chief also urges to check your smoke detectors. It is recommended to change its batteries every six months. 

The Henrietta Fire District tells us they too have seen uptick calls for kitchen fires, but overall calls in that district for things like car accidents are down about 40%. 

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
  • Make sure all handles are turned inward, away from where someone can grab a hot handle or tip a pan over.
  • Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, refrain from using the stove or stovetop.
  • If you have young children in your home, create a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one meter) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot (one meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.
  • When charging smartphones and other digital devices, only use the charging cord that came with the device.
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch.
  • Only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use.
  • Use a light bulb with the right number of watts. There should be a sticker that indicates the right number of watts.

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