Keeping Things Cleaned
Fire safety experts tell us that about half of all house fires start in the kitchen. Some are electrical, of course, but many are cooking related. Naturally, since stoves produce either flames or red hot burners, this makes sense. And yet many of these cooking-related kitchen fires, if not the vast majority of them, are caused either by carelessness, or violating some basic safety principles. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to prevent fires and be safer in your kitchen.
They say cleanliness is next to godliness, and it’s also an important factor in reducing your risk of kitchen fires. Pots and pans should be kept clean; for fire safety, it’s especially important to give the outside a good scrubbing, and the bottom too. Leftover grease and food chunks can catch fire from the burner. For the same reason, it’s important to keep the burner itself and the area around it clean. Pots and pans don’t catch fire; what’s inside and on them does. Likewise, the toaster should be emptied of crumbs at least once a week, as these can build up inside and catch fire. The same rule applies to toaster ovens – don’t let crumbs build up. Also, don’t forget the regular oven and broiler. They don’t need to be cleaned quite as often, but they do need regular attention to prevent buildup which can catch fire.
Breaking Bad Habits
Some people, especially those who use electric stoves, have gotten into a bad habit of laying potholders, dishtowels, etc., on top of the stove when it’s not being used, sometimes just for a minute or two. If you do this, you need to quit. One of these days someone’s going to absent mindedly turn a burner on while something like a dishtowel is on the stove, and you’ll have a kitchen fire before you know it.
What do you do if you’re cooking, right in the middle of a recipe, and you realize you’re lacking an essential ingredient? Whether your neighbor is sure to have what you need, or if the 7-11 is only five minutes away, you turn off the stove before you leave the house – even if it means having to start all over when you get back. Talk to a few firefighters, and you’d be surprised to learn how many people don’t do that, and how many fires this has caused. Leaving the house is never acceptable when a stove or oven is on, not even for a short while. You really shouldn’t even leave the room while the stove is on.
Along the same lines, small children should never be in a kitchen by themselves, and when you’re cooking, you’ll need to keep them away from the stove. Should you ever have a fire on the stovetop or in the oven, and it involves grease or oil, don’t throw water on it. If it’s safe to do so, put a lid on it. Water will only spread a grease fire. If you’re frying with oil, and the oil begins to smoke, remove it from the burner and lower the heat. Smoking grease is too hot, and could ignite. Another no-no is wearing loose fitting clothes while cooking. This is dangerous because the clothing can knock pans over, or come in contact with the flame or burner. A few simple precautions are all that’s necessary for safety and fire prevention in the kitchen.
SHORTCUTS TO FIRE SAFETY ARTICLES:
Fire Safety and Electrical Appliances
Basic Smoke Detector Information
Types of Smoke Detectors
Basic Fire Extinguisher Information
Causes of Fires
Tips for Safe Use of Lighters and Matches
Explaining Fire Safety Rules to Children
The Importance of Fire Drills and Escape Plans
Kitchen Fire Prevention
Bedroom Fire Safety
Fire Safety Tips
Fireplace and Chimney Safety
Holiday Safety Tips
Miscellaneous Fire Safety Tips
EMT Test Practice Questions