December 12, 2014

Practical fire prevention tips for holiday cooking

The kitchen is the hub of many happy homes. We gather family, entertain guests, and cook special meals for loved ones. Unlike the basic kitchens of even thirty years ago, today’s kitchens feature double-ovens, deluxe, multiple burner stove tops, warming drawers, and even indoor grilling stations. But the kitchen can also be a dangerous place. Did you know that most cooking fires in the home involve the stove top? The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Any number of simple mistakes or lapses in attention can turn a festive time into a disaster. To prevent this from happening, keep these handy kitchen fire (and burn!) prevention tips handy, courtesy of the National Fire Prevention Association

  • Be alert: If you’re exhausted or have been consuming alcohol, don’t use the stove or stove top.
  • Remain in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen during these activities, turn off the stove.
  • Use a timer when baking, roasting, or boiling food to remind you to check these dishes.
  • Keep anything which could catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, packaging, paper towels, dish towels, or curtains) away from your stove. This includes loose clothing and long hair!
  • Keep a lid nearby to smother grease fires. Slide the lid over the grease fire and turn off the stove. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool. Alternately, keep baking soda or a large quantity of salt nearby to smother the fire. Do not use water! Water will only spread the fire!
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • Maintain a 3-foot “kid free” zone around the stove where food is prepared or carried.
  • Keep your stove’s hood or exhaust fan free of grease. Build-up is dangerous.

A printable PDF of many of these tips is available here:

Remember: If you do have a kitchen fire that you cannot control, get everyone safely out of the house and call 911 / emergency services.

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