(London Free Press – File Photo)

Always look while you cook: That’s the message from London firefighters following a spate of blazes caused by careless cooking.

Since October, firefighters have responded to eight cooking-related fires, prompting the city’s fire department to issue the public warning Wednesday.

With the holidays approaching, the message is more important than ever, the department said.

“Going into the holiday season, the number of preventable cooking fires may rise as more people get together and celebrate over a meal,” chief fire ­prevention officer Wendy Cowdrey said in a statement.

“There’s also the increased likelihood that some people will cook while impaired by alcohol. Alcohol and cooking can be a deadly combination.”

Residents are reminded to always stay near the stove or barbecue while cooking. Anytime you step away, remember to take pots and pans off hot burners. If a small fire breaks out, smother the flames using a lid to a pot or pan.

In the two most recent home blazes, there were no working smoke detectors, the department said. Ontario law requires homeowners to have a working smoke alarm on every floor. The fire department suggests parents practise fire drills with children.

Source: Move cooking fire awareness to front burner | The London Free Press