So with Thanksgiving past us and the Christmas/Holiday season quickly thundering towards us – we figured now would be as good a time as any to talk a little bit about kitchen fires and what you can do to protect yourself from them.
Without a doubt, you’re probably putting together a deliciously elaborate feast for family and friends – but it’s worth remembering that nearly half of all fires started in the home start in the kitchen and it’s important make sure your home is safe.
Don’t leave pots and pans unattended. Don’t just leave stoves or appliances running. Be in the kitchen supervising these things. Yes – they’re all important and double yes- you can’t do everything all at once, but be there, be focused on what you’re cooking and be sure to turn any heat-creating appliances off when you’re done using them.
OK, not to put this on you ladies because men can and should cook, too – but some things to keep in mind that mostly apply to you – don’t wear long sleeves that have a droop in them or billow. Make sure you have your hair up. And men with longer hair, that’s you too!
And both men and women – please be mindful of combustibles like certain packaging, grocery bags, kitchen towels and chords. Anyone who’s spent time cooking in or stealing from a kitchen in action during the holiday season KNOWS how chaotic it can be. So just be aware of your surroundings!
Once you’re done cooking – clean your surfaces. Little crumbs can catch fire and create smoke. Grease fires can start and are a common ignition source for kitchen fires. Wipe down and empty the crumb tray on the toaster and be mindful of your microwave use as well.
Just remember the rule that if you use that appliance – you must clean that appliance.
“Too many cooks in the kitchen” is a saying for a reason. And we’re not just talking about the cooks. We’re talking about the kids. We’re talking about the infamous family food raiders swooping in for a pre-meal stab of ham. We’re talking about the dogs, the mother in law who still thinks your cooking skills stink. We’re talking any and all humans who make it harder to focus on what you’re trying to do and/or could get themselves into trouble quickly.
Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. You should have one there anyway, but here’s your excuse. Make sure you have one. If you don’t – get one.
Fire extinguishers aside, check your appliances. Stay away from frayed wires. If something smells funky, unplug it and find out what it is. Be mindful of water near light switches and the like. Be conscious of your surroundings.
The number one cause for kitchen fires is because people leave food in the oven too long or cooking on whatever surface they’re using. Put everything on a timer and stick to it. Trust us, it’s easy to get distracted on the holiday’s as is, but when you factor in all the crazy societal things we deal with – phones and the like – it’s easy to lose track of what you’re supposed to be doing. Help timers help you.