As the holidays approach, people are beginning to plan elaborate feasts for their friends and family. But did you know that nearly half of all home fires begin in the kitchen? On average that means about 180,000 fires a year causing roughly $7 BILLION in damages. Amazingly, fire safety and protection methods have improved current levels to roughly 40% of totals from just 30 years ago.
What makes the kitchen so susceptible to spark home fires? Here’s a list of 7 easy steps to prevent a blaze from beginning in your kitchen.
Don’t leave cooking food unattended. If you become distracted or need to leave the room for any reason, turn off the cooking appliance and remove the food from the heat source. This is the number one cause of kitchen fires.
Do not wear long sleeves the droop or billow while cooking. If you have long hair, make sure it is unable to fall into any kind of heat source. Also, keep other combustibles like food packaging, grocery bags, paper or kitchen towels, and appliance cords from your stovetop. All of these items could ignite if exposed to high temperatures.
Make sure to clean all cooking surfaces regularly. Leftover food and grease can become a common ignition source for a kitchen fire. Don’t focus exclusively on the stovetop and oven though. Make sure to empty the crumb tray on a toaster and to wipe down the microwave as well.
We have all heard the phrase “Too many cooks in the kitchen.” This is especially true in preventing kitchen fires when it pertains to children and pets. Do not allow unsupervised children in the kitchen while cooking and keep pets from walking on counters and cooking surfaces.
Make sure to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen should the need arise. Also, have a smoke alarm near the kitchen but not inside of it. This will prevent any piece of burnt toast setting off the alarm while still providing safety should a real fire actually start.
Also, unplug any electric appliance that may be old or have frayed wiring. Even when not turned on, an appliance like a coffee maker still draws electricity and could be a fire source.
Follow all manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use on any appliance. This goes for all kitchen appliances from the stove, to the dishwasher, to the refrigerator. People often forget the rule about not putting any metal inside a microwave which can spark and start a fire.
Use a timer when cooking. Many people think they will remember to check the clock and know when to pull a dish out of the oven. But in today’s society, distractions are everywhere and it is much easier to forget about your roast or casserole sitting in the oven. Burnt food is a very viable source for a kitchen fire.
Following these easy guidelines will keep you and your family safe throughout the holiday season and all year long.
For more information of fire safety and affordable fire protection systems, check out our blog.