Cooking Safety Tips

Did you know that the leading cause of home fires is from cooking? There are simple steps you can take to ensure that a fire caused by cooking can be avoided or, in the event that one does start, the danger and damage can be minimized.

While Cooking

Remain in the kitchen when cooking, especially when frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food. Staying alert while cooking is also key. Setting alarms to remind you of cooking times, or simply to remind you that cooking is taking place, can be helpful. Items that can catch fire (hand towels, paper, plastic items, oven mitts, etc.) should not be left on a stove top, and never when cooking. Be aware of what you are wearing. Loose fitting clothing and long hair can catch on fire. Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove to avoid someone bumping into them, or accidentally pulling them off the stovetop.

Cooking with Oil

When cooking with oil, always increase heat slowly. When adding food, also do so slowly to avoid splatters. If you see smoke, take the food being cooked in oil off the heat immediately. Always keep the lid to your pot next to the stove while cooking. In the event of a fire, cover the pot immediately. Do not remove the lid, as the fire can start again. Grease fires can also be put out with large amounts of baking soda. NEVER USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER OR WATER TO ATTEMPT TO PUT OUT A GREASE FIRE!

What to Do if a Fire Starts

If the fire is small and contained, you can use your fire extinguisher EXCEPT when dealing with a GREASE fire. (Grease fires can be put out with large amounts of baking soda or by covering the fire with a pot lid. NEVER try to put out a GREASE fire with WATER!) However, if the fire is not put out quickly, or if you are not confident, GET OUT FAST! Once out of the home, call 911. If you are fighting the fire with a fire extinguisher, instruct other members of the family to exit the home immediately. Always put safety first. Fires can spread rapidly, often times only giving you minutes to escape.

Additional Safety Measures

Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and make sure that anyone who will be cooking knows how to use it. Never disable smoke alarms while cooking. Make sure that children old enough to cook know all of the safety measures and that exiting quickly in the event of a fire is key. Be careful to instruct children who are not yet ready for the responsibility of cooking to never, ever use an oven, stove top or toaster if home without adult supervision.