With the holidays quickly approaching, more time is spent in the kitchen than any other time of year! Did you know that fires have a greater chance of starting in your kitchen than anywhere else in your home? Avoid a recipe for disaster! Refresh your memory by reading the article below about how to keep your family and kitchen safe.
Safe Cooking Behaviors
It is a possibility for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.
Watch What You Heat
- The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
- Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
Keep Things That Can Catch Fire and Heat Sources Apart
- Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains - away from your stove top.
- Keep the stove top, burners, and oven clean.
- Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby counter tops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
What kind of fire is it? Where is it?
- If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
- If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
- Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
- If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
- Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
- Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
- Use a fire extinguisher.
- Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
- If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.
Protect Children from Scalds and Burns
- Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
- Keep young children at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any place where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried. Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
- When young children are present, use the stove's back burners whenever possible.
- Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
- Teach children that hot things burn.
- When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely. Supervise them closely.
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