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Cooking is the most common cause of home fires – here’s how to cook safely

By 22.4.2024No Comments

Did you know that cooking is the single most common cause of home fires in Finland? Every year, about 900 fires originate in the kitchen, many of which are caused by carelessness, thoughtlessness, or haste (SPEK, 2023).

Hazardous situations arise, for example, when food is left to cook unattended or extra items are left near the stove. Stove fires typically originate from food, grease or kitchen utensils catching fire.

To avoid stove fires, remember at least these three things:

  1. Do not store extra items near the stove or cooker
  2. Never leave the stove on unattended
  3. Always make sure that the stove is off when you are done

When a stove fire breaks out, always try to extinguish the fire early on without compromising your own safety. In case of a grease fire, do not throw water into the fire, but try to suppress the fire, for example, with a lid or a smothering blanket.

More instructions: Instructions in case of fire by SPEK (the Finnish National Rescue Association)


Grilling carries a risk of ground and terrace fires

As summer approaches, the smell of barbecue fills the air as cooks move from kitchens to outdoors. Most TYS housing locations have a separate barbecue area, which we primarily recommend when you start craving some grilled food.

Most TYS housing locations have a separate barbecue area.

If your location does not have a barbecue area, or if you are unable to use it for some reason, you can also use your own barbecue on your balcony or in the apartment yard, as long as you take your neighbours, the general comfort, and fire safety regulations into account when cooking.

The best choice for grilling on the balcony is definitely an electric grill. Using  a charcoal grill always carries a fairly high fire hazard, and that’s why we don’t recommend using them on balconies.

Please note that disposable grills, small kettle grills, and twig stoves are classified as open fire. Lighting an open fire on a balcony or in an apartment yard is never allowed, and if there are active wildfire warnings, no open fires may be lit regardless of the location.

You can check current warnings in the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s online service.

Read more about open fires on the Finnish Rescue Services’ website.


It pays to be prepared, because accidents can happen to anyone

Careful handling of fire is a basic rule of fire-safe everyday life, but accidents can always happen. That’s why it’s also important to be prepared for the worst. Having a functional fire alarm and knowing your home’s rescue plan are can literally save lives if and when a fire breaks out.

Fire alarm batteries should be checked every month.

Responsibility for fire alarm maintenance will be transferred to the property owner by the start of 2026 at the latest, but for the time being, the purchasing and testing of a fire alarm are the tenant’s responsibility.

Here’s how to take care of your fire alarm:

  • Replace the batteries once a year
  • Test the alarm’s functionality once a month by pressing the test button on the alarm

You can find more instructions on how to use the smoke detector on the Finnish Rescue Services’ website.

In the event of a fire, it is also important to know the rescue plan for your building. The plan includes information about the building’s exits and place of assembly, among other things. You can find the location-specific rescue plans for your TYS apartment on the Tenant Pages.

The building exits must always have free access, so please let us know if you notice any extra items in your building’s stairwells for example.

Happy cooking and stay safe, everyone!