Cook with Caution - Tips to Avoid Kitchen Fires

A Story by Tom Phillips | Updated 10/3/2019 2:41am


According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking caused 43% of reported home fires.  The kitchen fire is the most common type of fire in the U.S.  If you think about it, the reasoning makes perfect sense because the kitchen is where heat, electricity, water, and grease come together.  You can follow these tips to keep your kitchen safe:

> Never leave cooking food unattended - Unattended cooking was the leading cause of fires and casualties.

> Have a "kid-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove to prevent injuries.

> Use caution when lighting the pilot light on a burner or gas stove.

> Don't use metal in the microwave.  May seem like a 'duh' thing to say, but you have to be careful of foil, foil packaging and even etching on certain bowls and mugs!

> Don't overfill pots or pans with oil or grease.

> Wipe up spills and don't cook on a dirty stove.  Grease build-up is flammable.

> Keep anything that can catch fire - clothing, hair, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towerls or curtains away from your stovetop.

> Install a smoke detector not in, but near the kitchen.  You don't want to constantly trigger the alarm with noraml smoke or steam, but you do want it to sense an actual kitchen fire.

According to the Consumer Product Ssfety Commission (CPSC), cooking is also the leading cause of unreported home fires.  United States fire departments responded to an estimated average of 172,100 home structure fires per years started by cooking activities in 2012-2016, or an average of 471 home cooking fires per day.  The most common type of kitchen fire is a grease fire.  Do you know what to do if you ignite  grease fire?  Below are tips from www.firerescue1.com.

If a grease fire starts:

1.  Cover the flames with a metal lid or cookie sheet.  Leave the cover on until it has cooled.

2.  Turn off the heat source.

3.  If it's small and manageable, pour baking soda or salt on it to smother the fire.

4.  As a last restor, spray the fire witha  Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher.

5.  Do not try to extinguish the fire with water.

6.  Do not attempt to move the pot or pan outside.

 

If you are unable to extinguish the grease fire:

1.  GET OUT!  You and your family members need to leave as soon as you can to prevent injury or loss of life.  Don't try to be a hero.

2.  Close the door as you leave to help contain the fire.

3.  Call 911 as soon as you are at a safe distance from the fire.

4.  Do not re-enter your home until the fire has been contained by firefighters.

Remember to remove as much moistures as possible from the food before putting it in hot oil, and be careful of putting frozen foods in hot grease!  Add food gently to prevent splatter, adn keep a lid handy just in case.  Never turn your heat source up too high, if you see smoke, or the oil starts to smell, it is an indication that it is too hot.  Immediately turn off the burner to let it cool down.

 

Thanksgiving is approaching, which is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  Be smart in the kitchen!  Pay attention to the small details... they just might save you!

 

 

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