Nearly half of all fires that occur in the home come from the kitchen. To most, that’s probably not a surprise, but the amount of damage done probably will be. All in all, kitchen fires account for over $7 billion dollars of damage every year. What’s even crazier – is that our current fire protection levels are about 40% of what they were from just 30 years ago!
So how do you keep your kitchen and your home safe? Here are some easy ways to prevent a blaze from beginning in your kitchen as well as how you can make it easier to practice fire safety in your home. Let’s jump right in!
Simply put – if you’re cooking food – don’t leave it alone for any reason. Even if it’s in a slow cooker, make sure you’re keeping an eye on things. The number one cause of kitchen fires is people leaving food unattended – while it’s cooking. Don’t do it!
Make sure you’re on your toes when you’re cooking and aware of yourself and your surroundings. Roll your sleeves up and don’t let them droop. If you have long hair, put it up into a bun so it doesn’t fall into a heat source. Be aware of where things like boxes, towels and other misc. debris is relative to heat sources. Any of these items could catch on fire – so keep your head on a swivel!
Grease fires are a common in places where people don’t clean their cooking surfaces enough. That being said – don’t fall into the trap of focusing solely on the stovetop. Clean crumb trays in toaster ovens and always wipe down the microwaves and George Foreman grills once a week. In many cases – these are just as likely to start a fire if not more so!
Ever hear the phrase ‘there’s too many cooks in the kitchen?’ That’s especially true in your own home kitchen when it comes to spouses, kids and pets. Don’t let kids wander in unsupervised and be aware of where pets are walking. Kids get into things, distract you from what you’re doing and the like. It’s one thing to cook with your children – that’s great and frankly – you should because it’s a great experience for them. But it should be on a project you’re cooking together – not while you’re cooking something else. You’d be surprised at how quickly something can go wrong when you’re not paying proper attention.
Make sure you’ve got a fire extinguisher ready to go in your kitchen at all times. If it’s been a while, get it inspected and looked at to make sure it’s full and operable. Also make sure it’s filled with the correct agent in order to fight kitchen fires and not something else.
Also, it might not be a bad idea to have a fire fighter friend or a certified pro come by and talk to your family about fire safety. They can be taught how to check extinguishers, learn about why smoke detectors are important, have an escape plan if things go south and also even potentially how to use certain fire safety equipment in the event they’re forced to.
And of course –being proactive means just being smart about how you go about your business. Don’t put metal in the microwave, follow instructions on how run appliances properly and the like. Keep your eye on all timers and of course – don’t get distracted!
Hopefully these guidelines will make if easier for you to stay on your toes in the kitchen. Be safe, be conscientious and good luck!