PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - As COVID-19 continues to call for people to stay at home, more people are cooking at home. That could be why the Legacy Oregon Burn Center is seeing a rise in patients.

“People that usually eat out aren’t, they’re having to cook and finding out how good of cooks they are,” Curtis Ryun, outreach education coordinator with Legacy Oregon Burn Center, said.

 Ryun said the center is seeing an increase in patients with burn injuries.

“So, we’ve been noticing things like kitchen accounts for about 42% of all house fires, cooking fires do,” Ryun said. “So, we’ve been noticing an uptick in people with oil and grease fires, from the frying pans.”

He said they’re also seeing a rise in scalds as well, especially with little kids.

“People not putting hot water or hot liquids far enough back and putting them too low and kids can get to them,” Ryun said.

 He said kids are at home trying to cook in the microwave as well.

“They reach in and pull something out and it comes out on top of them,” Ryun said. “Those are normal things, but we’re just noticing a little bit more with what’s been going on.”

Ryun said he’s also noticing patients with injuries from outside fires.

“We’ve had people falling into fires, so alcohol and fire doesn’t mix real well,” Ryun said.

He said even though beaches are closed, people are still going out there.

“People are still at the beach building camp fires, and to put them out, they cover them with sand and we’ve had in the outpatient clinic, they’ve seen two or three patients that came walking along and stepped in the sand and their feet went into the hot coals and got some really nasty burns,” Ryun said.

Ryun said now is as important as ever to practice fire safety to prevent burn injuries. He has some tips, like to wear gloves while cleaning.

“We’ve had at least one person who got chemical burns on their hands from cleaning countertops,” he said.

If there’s a grease fire, he said don’t try to run out of the house with it or try to extinguish the fire.

 “The best thing to do is just put a lid on in, over the top of it, turn the heat off and let it extinguish itself,” Ryun said.

He also said to keep a close watch on children near stoves, don’t use gasoline to start a fire, and don’t overload electrical outlets.

 “I know that the unit has been full and seems like we send somebody out and we get somebody back in, so it has been a pretty steady flow in the unit,” Ryun said.

 A spokesperson for Portland Fire & Rescue said it’s a good time to practice fire safety while at home. He said it’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, have an escape ladder if you have more than one floor, and make sure smoke alarms are working.

For more information on how to prevent burns at home, click here.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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