Ten tips to prevent kitchen fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are not only the leading cause of home structure fires, the majority of kitchen fire injuries occur when victims try to fight the fire themselves. Wouldn’t it be smarter to avoid cooking fires altogether? You can, with the following kitchen safety tips.
1. Stay in the kitchen
The most common fires occur from people leaving food on the stove unattended. Don’t leave the kitchen while you have things cooking. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove and take your pots and pans off the heat. This is equally important if you are broiling food in the oven – take the food out of the oven and turn off the broiler.
2. Watch your clothing
Long, flowing sleeves, large-fitting shirts, and even aprons can catch fire. When cooking, wear short or close-fitted sleeves and keep your baggy shirts tucked in or tied back with a well-fitted apron.
3. Be aware of the items around the stovetop
Kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords, and even curtains can easily catch fire if set near a hot burner. Always move flammable items away from your stovetop. Be careful when using towels to move a pot off the burner. Ideally, use an oven mitt, but if using a towel, be sure it doesn’t dangle down and touch the burner.
4. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen
In the case you do have a fire, a fire extinguisher can make the difference between an easy to clean up burned pan and a kitchen engulfed in flames. Be sure you actually know how to use it, too.
5. Change the batteries in your smoke detector
Chances are you have a smoke detector in the kitchen or in the room adjacent to the kitchen. Make sure the smoke detector is operable and change your smoke detector batteries every six months.
6. Never throw hot grease in the garbage can
Never throw hot grease in the garbage can. Even if the grease isn’t on fire, it can cause something in the garbage to burn. Instead, let grease cool and dispose of it in an old coffee can.
7. Extinguish candles
Keep your candlelit dinners romantic by keeping the heat between you and your mate. Candles are another common cause of house fires. In addition to using wider, shorter candles, which are less likely to tip over, be sure to extinguish candle flames as soon as you are done in the kitchen.
8. Be prepared to put out a fire
If you have a stovetop fire, put a proper fitting lid over the pan or pot to smother it. Never use water and never pick a burning pan up and put it in the sink. Don’t use flour to put out a fire – it can burn, too – and it makes a mess.
9. Have a fire escape plan
Keep the fire department telephone number written and/or programmed on your telephone. Sit down with your family and have a fire escape plan that includes getting out of the house and meeting outside in a designated area. It’s important that your family – especially your kids – know what to do. Practice your plan every month.
10. Stop, drop, roll
In the event you do catch fire, follow the Stop, Drop, Roll principle. Don’t run if your clothing catches fire – stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll. Then get to a hospital to get treatment for your burns.
Don’t ever hesitate to call the fire department – even if you have successfully put out your fire. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Practice fire prevention measures every time you are in the kitchen and be sure to pass the measures on to your kids.