Cooking up Kitchen Safety
Ranges and cooktops are the most involved appliances in home fire cooking, they account for about 48 percent of all fires, ovens for 16 percent.
The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking, over 90 percent of cooking fires are caused by this. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave for some reason turn off the stove. Check your food regularly, set yourself a reminder if you have something on the stove or in the oven. Stay alert, don’t cook if you are drowsy or sleepy. Keep flammable items away from your heat source, items such as oven mitts, potholders, wooden utensil, packaging and bags, curtains, and towels. Clean up any spills or grease as soon as they happen, and the stovetop is cool. Don’t wear loose clothing such as long sleeves and scarves, they can easily catch fire. Install smoke alarms in the kitchen, outside each sleeping area, inside each bedroom, and on every level of your home (including the basement).
If a cooking fire does break out, the NFPA offers this advice:
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.