Kitchen Fire Safety Tips
Did you know that 1/5 of all home fires in the United States starts in the kitchen? That's a startling statistic, isn't it? The reason is due to the constant potential for fire there. For instance, if you cook two meals a day, every day of the year, that's actually 730 potential fire hazards. Prevention is your best defense so follow these important fire safety tips to ensure that the fire department won't become unexpected dinner guests in your home.
- The number one factor leading to kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Never leave a hot stove unattended, If you must leave the kitchen, even briefly, turn off the stove.
- Remember: Put a lid on grease fires. Never use water on oil or grease fires as it will cause the burning liquid to spatter, spreading the fire. Have a lid for every pan or skillet in use so if a fire starts in one, you can smother the flames with the lid.
- For deep frying, many fire departments recommend use of a deep fryer unit with temperature control instead of heating oil on the stove.
- If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. This will deprive the fire of oxygen, causing the flame to extinguish on its own. Be sure to have the oven serviced after a fire and before using it.
- Teach children not to play around the stove. Establish a "no child-zone" around the stove of at least 3 feet.
- Never try to carry a burning pan outdoors or to the sink. This often results in spilling the liquid and in turn, causes burn injuries and also allows the fire to spread. Remember, put a lid on it.
- Do not wear loose fitting clothing while cooking, and be careful not to reach across a burner at any time. Garments with long, draping sleeves, or lightweight, sheer materials, can catch fire simply by brushing against a hot burner.
- Remember, if your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP to the ground, COVER your face, and ROLL around.
- Keep handles of pots and pans turned in so they are not accidentally bumped and so little children cannot reach them.
- Be careful when removing any pans from the oven or stove- Always use a hot pad or oven mitt.
- Keep your kitchen free of clutter and never place anything on the stove you do not intend to heat. An electric coil reaches 800ºF, while a gas flame reaches over 1000ºF. Dish towels and pot holders can ignite at 400ºF.
- Keep a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and know how to use it. However, if the fire is spreading, or if your escape route is in jeopardy of being blocked, get out and stay out. Call 9-1-1 after you leave.