... follow fire safety tips to avoid an all-to-common kitchen fire

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CANANDAIGUA — As much as many folks are trying to enjoy takeout from restaurants to help small businesses endure this coronavirus takedown, many more people also are cooking and eating at home more often than they used to do.

And one of the first things Canandaigua Fire Chief Frank Magnera anticipated when social distancing rules started taking effect and more people were required to stay put?

Cooking fires.

The good news is, Canandaigua firefighters have only responded to one such fire call since the pandemic struck home, which came as a surprise, Magnera said.

Even without the pandemic, “it’s still the number one cause of fires,” Magnera said.

More New Yorkers are cooking from home, as the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, or FASNY, acknowledged.

But for many, frankly, it’s easier to watch “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” host Guy Fieri and the chefs he spotlights on TV than it is cooking at home. Much easier, and at times, much safer.

Cooking and baking can be a positive activity for family connections but it also can lead to some lapses in home kitchen and cooking fire safety, according to the organization.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is asking for the public’s help in keeping themselves and others safe as we all work together to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, kitchen fires also are the number one cause of home fire injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.

Typically, an increase in home kitchen fires is seen around the winter holidays when families host large dinners, said FASNY President Steven E. Klein.

“We want to make sure during this pandemic, as everyone is staying home, that we can avoid unnecessary tragedy,” Klein said in a prepared statement. “Kitchen fires can be avoided by following some simple safety tips like never leaving the stove unattended and checking that smoke alarms are in good working order.”

Here are a few cooking safety tips provided by FASNY and the National Fire Protection Association as social distancing continues throughout the state.

• Remain in the kitchen while cooking. Whether you’re frying, grilling, baking or broiling food, it’s always a good idea to supervise cooking directly. With many New Yorkers working from home, or attending to school-age children that are now home more, it is very easy to become distracted while cooking.

• Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for “just a second.” A second is all it takes for a house fire to start.

• If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re cooking.

• For homes with children, have the kids remain outside the kitchen area while food is being prepared. Pets should also be kept out of the kitchen while cooking.

• Avoid loose or dangling clothing when cooking, particularly around the stovetop burners on gas ranges.

• Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning by pressing the “test” button. If needed, replace the batteries — and if not functioning after testing, install brand-new smoke alarms.

Speaking of being at home ...

As might be expected, Ryan’s Wines and Liquor in Canandaigua is doing well during these coronavirus times.

Early on in the crisis, at times there were lines to get inside, owner JR Miller said, although that is not so much the case anymore.

Even by limiting customers to 10 inside the store to shop, customers are embracing services such as local deliveries and people are ordering in quantity, Miller said.

Curbside service — ”They call us, we bring it out to them,” Miller said — is “doing phenomenal.”

In fact, this past March is up considerably over numbers from March 2019.

“My numbers are comparable to some of the holiday numbers,” Miller said.

And in a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, Miller said, “I’m thankful I’m healthy and have a business that is open.”