Kitchen Fire Prevention
Fires in the Home
Smoking carelessly is usually accepted as the most common cause of fire deaths in the home, but the most common culprit for fires in the home, is the kitchen.
Stay With Your Food!
Unsafe cooking puts both you and your family at risk of a home fire. Kitchen fires can cause anything from minor burns, to death, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking some simple safety steps, you can greatly reduce the chance of having a kitchen fire.
Never leave the kitchen while you are cooking. Obviously this doesn’t apply to food being cooked in a crock pot, or something that’s designed to cook in the oven for awhile, but don’t put a pot on the stove and leave the room. If you do have to leave, turn the burner off, and take the pot off the stove. On the subject of pots, always remember to turn handles inward. Handles hanging out over the stove are just asking for someone to bump them and knock them off. Not to mention, they make a dandy handle for a little kid to grab. The last thing you want is for a child to pull a scalding hot pot off the stove on top of them.
Keep Kids Away From the Stove
Ideally, keep kids occupied elsewhere while you are cooking, or at the very least, keep them at least a yard away from the stove. You don’t want them touching the stove, and you don’t want them to accidentally trip you when you are carrying hot items.
Clothing and Clutter
Don’t wear loose fitting clothing when you cook. Either wear short sleeves, or roll your sleeves up where they are out of the way. You don’t want to be reaching over a pot and have your clothing dangling into it.
Keep your stove and counter top clutter free. I know this can be hard to do, but clutter will only cause fire spread in the event a fire does start. Do keep a set of oven mitts within reach of the stove, but not on the stove.
In The Event Of A Fire
When you choose a pot to cook with, make sure the proper lid for that pot is nearby. In the event that the pot’s contents catch fire, you can put on the oven mitts, and carefully slide the lid over the pot. Then, turn the burner off. The pot lid will smother the fire.
Grease and oil are dangerous substances if not used properly. Things like cooking oil, (and candle wax if you are into making homemade candles) have a ‘flash point’ and will spontaneously ignite if they reach that point. Follow cooking directions exactly, and use a thermometer to keep track of your oil temperature. Remember that oil and water DO NOT MIX. Ensure that any utensils you are using with your oil are COMPLETELY dry.
If the oil does catch fire, DO NOT PANIC. Just use the method above to smother the flames with the pot lid. Never try to move the pot. The oil may slosh and seriously burn you. Never, ever, ever put water on a grease fire. This will cause a major explosion, even if it is only a small amount of water. Don’t bother trying to throw on baking soda, or anything like that. Just use the pot lid. This is another reason why it is so important to have the proper lid near the pot you are cooking with. When it comes to grease fires, even a fire extinguisher is a poor choice, as the force of it may push the burning grease out of the pot. Not to mention, you’ll have a huge mess to clean up from the extinguisher. Again, carefully slide a proper fitting lid on the pot and stop the fire.
Fire In The Stove
If you have a fire in your stove or microwave, don’t panic. Simply shut the stove off, and leave the door closed. In the case of the microwave, unplug it if you can safely do so. Don’t open the door until you are sure the fire is out. If you have any doubts, call the Fire Department. They would rather respond and find that your fire is out, than to have to respond to a structure fire and possibly have to rescue you.
If you ever end up in the unfortunate situation where a fire does start, don’t try to be a hero. In the above cases, some simple steps will probably extinguish your fire and everything will be fine. In the event where the drapes catch fire, or some other disaster happens, use a fire extinguisher if one is nearby and you are trained to use it. If that fails, leave the house immediately and call your Fire Department.