According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost half of home fires can be traced back to the kitchen and almost a quarter of all fire deaths are a cause of cooking. Taking measures to avoid cooking fires is the best step and learning what can be done in the event one starts will keep your family and your home safer.
Safety Tips While Cooking
When you’re in the kitchen cooking, make that your main focus. Stay in the kitchen, especially when you have something on the stove and stay alert. Try not to get distracted or spend too much time multi-tasking. Use timers and alarms to avoid burning food and keep the area nearby clean and free of rags, plastic, and paper.
For personal safety, be aware of loose-fitting clothing or long-sleeves that may catch an open flame. It’s good practice to turn pot handles away from the front of the stove so they don’t get bumped or pulled down by little hands. If you have small children and a gas range, consider removing the knobs or getting child-proof locks so they cannot turn the gas on accidentally.
Cooking with Oil
With new kitchen appliances like the Instant Pot and Air Fryer, there may not be as many occasions to cook with oil, but if you are, make sure to increase the heat slowly. Remove food and pan from the heat immediately if there is any smoke and keep a lid close by to cover the pot if a fire begins. Leave the lid on even after the fire is extinguished as it can easily reignite.
What to Do if a Fire Starts
If the fire is small and contained, you may be able to use your fire extinguisher. Grease fires are the exception to this rule. They 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 safely out of your home, call 911. If you are fighting the fire with a fire extinguisher, everyone else in the house should leave immediately. Safety always come first as fires can spread rapidly, leaving you only minutes to escape in some situations.
There are a few suggestions to increase the safety in your house and the prevention of cooking fires. Keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and make sure that anyone who will be cooking knows how to use it is a great first step. Despite how annoying they can be when cooking, never disable smoke alarms. (And check the batteries in them twice a year.)
Children who are old enough to cook should also know the safety measures and responsibilities in case of a fire. For those children who are too young to cook, consistent reminders about not using the oven, stove top, or toaster is a good idea. All children should be supervised and safe while there is cooking happening in the kitchen.
Protect your home and your family from the fire by following these tips for kitchen safety. Take the time today to make sure your kitchen is safe for cooking, and make that check part of your regular routine.