Does food that has caught fire on a range cooker leave one hungry or homeless?

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Food that has caught fire on a range cooker is frequently the result of carelessness and can happen to any of us. Several things are being done at the same time, which diverts one’s attention away from food preparation. It may also happen that the range cooker has been accidentally switched on, or the wrong burner has been switched on. The problem is not limited to being left without food, but could lead to a bigger fire.

 

“Even if a range cooker has cooled down, it is recommended that nothing made of flammable material be placed on the range cooker, even for an instant, since there have been several instances in which buttons have been switched on due to carelessness (inquisitive children playing with appliances, pets running over touch sensitive buttons, etc.), resulting in a fire. It also doesn’t pay to hang towels, oven mitts and other flammable material above range cookers, which could possibly fall onto the range cooker,” emphasised Armand Jürgenson, Chief Inspector of the Northern Regional Rescue Centre.

What to do when food ignites?

The first thing to do is start with what should definitely not be done, the initial reflex that a person has when a fire starts – throwing water on the fire.

Water should never be thrown onto oil that is burning in a pan. The water will cause the flames to flare, and the person may suffer serious burns. In a matter of seconds the fire can grow very big.

  1. A fire blanket should be purchased for the kitchen and kept handy when preparing food. If a flame ignites, then the fire blanket should be placed over the flame, making sure you protect your hands while doing so. In the case of a smaller flame, you can also grab a lid and carefully slide it over the flame.
  2. Once the fire blanket or pan lid has been placed over the flame, the burner must be switched off and you must wait until it cools down, otherwise the flame may reignite.

 

  1. A more intensive flame can only be extinguished with the aid of a fire extinguisher, which is why it is important that a fire extinguisher be kept in the home. Since the use of a water extinguisher will only serve to expand the flames and may create an explosion, it is recommended that a carbon dioxide extinguisher, foam extinguisher or special F-Class extinguisher, for cooking oil & fat, be used. A dry powder extinguisher may prove to be dangerous, since it will spread out the burning oil.
  2. It is important that the fire extinguisher continues to be used after the flame has been extinguished, in order to cool the fat below its ignition point.

According to Seesam Loss Adjustment, attention to the presence of smoke detectors and fire-extinguishing appliances has increased, although this has been counterbalanced by a decrease in the perception of danger among people, and people are frequently unable to assess apparent risks when designing their home.

In terms of fires, 2016 was a relatively lucky year for Seesam’s clients when it came to accidents. The number of fires was comparable to 2015, and thanks to the presence of smoke detectors and the quick reaction of homeowners, fires were, for the most part, kept from getting big. Several fires were associated with carelessness. Fires were started by food that was left cooking on a pan as well as unattended candles and careless smoking. The average amount of damage in the case of such incidents was approximately EUR 7600.