Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States? And that almost half (44%) of reported home fires start in the kitchen, and that two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials?? This year’s Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020, and is the perfect time to Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.
You can do a lot to prevent kitchen fires. Although you can’t remove every possible source of a kitchen fire, you can minimize fire risks by removing hazards and maintaining your kitchen. Follow these prevention tips to keep your kitchen safe:
- Keep appliances serviced, clean, and in good repair. Dump the crumb tray and clean out the toaster crumbs periodically from the toaster or toaster oven. Wipe out the microwave. Clean the oven. Unplug any appliances that start acting funny, then have them repaired or replace them.
- Unplug electric appliances when not in use. Toaster ovens, mixers, coffee makers, and so on, continue to draw electricity even when they’re not turned on. So if the wiring is old or faulty, or if the thermostat overheats, a fire could break out.
- Install a smoke detector near, but not in the kitchen. You don’t want the small amount of smoke or steam that cooking sometimes generates to constantly trigger the alarm — but you do want it to sense an actual kitchen fire.
- Use caution when lighting the pilot light or burner on a gas stove. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Don’t use metal in the microwave. The sparks can turn into fire or can seriously damage your microwave.
- Don’t overfill pots or pans with oil or grease. The hot oil or grease, like in this figure, can splatter and cause a fire.
- Wipe up spills and don’t cook on a dirty stove. Grease buildup is flammable. A clean stove is a fire-free stove.
- Always roll up long sleeves and tie back long hair when cooking. You don’t need your beautiful flowing silk sleeves trailing in the spaghetti sauce, and you certainly don’t need to catch on fire!
- Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen, especially if you’re cooking in grease or if the oven is at a very high heat. Turn off the burner or oven if you need to leave the house or get caught up in a phone call.
- Keep dish towels, pot holders, and paper towels away from the stove. You might have left a burner on by accident, and built-up heat could ignite combustibles left near or on the stove or oven.
For more information, visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Fire-Prevention-Week
To learn more about the Fire Safe Council in University City, visit https://www.universitycitynews.org/category/sdfd/