Sharing a meal is one of the oldest ways to connect with people, and cooking plays a huge role in that time of bonding. From preparation to consumption, the experience can often be thought of as a relaxing time to spend with friends and family while tapping into your giving and hospitality side. It’s during this time that we often forget the risks and dangers that are just an arm’s length away. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, unattended cooking was the leading factor in home cooking fires between 2006 and 2011. Ranges were the largest share of incidents with frying being the greatest risk to cause a fire. And here’s an interesting fact, Thanksgiving was the peak day for home cooking fires.
Knowing that range or cooktops are by far the leading cause of home fires, there are steps to take in order to be safe in the kitchen, protect your home, and live to cook another day.
Keep an Eye on What You Fry
Never leave a stove unattended. This is especially important when you are cooking frying or cooking with highly combustible ingredients like oils and butters. One splash, an unintended drip, and the whole range can erupt in a ball of fire. Keeping a close eye will not only prevent a potential fire, but will also allow you to react before it is too late.
Test Your Smoke Alarms
While not directly related to cooking, be sure you test your smoke alarms. For many of us, putting something in the oven and walking away has become a habit from convenience. Ovens have accounted for 16% of fires from 2006-2011 and are a very real threat to your home. Having operating smoke alarms will notify you immediately if something is wrong.
Install Home Sprinkler Systems
Worst case scenario is not your food burning, it is evacuating your home that has erupted into flames from an unattended cooking station. However, having a home sprinkler system installed and properly maintained will help prevent the spread of a fire while first responders arrive.
Never Leave a Stove Unattended
Standing near the stove means that you’re close to react if something goes wrong. Keep a pan lid nearby in case you need to smother a fire before it gets out of control.
Maintain Your Fire Safety Equipment
For hotels and restaurants, maintaining the life safety systems on your property, whether wet, dry, pre-action, or deluge fire protection systems, is key to assuring they will work when and if that time comes.
Take note of these tips and take a walk around your kitchen and home. Test your alarms, see if a sprinkler system upgrade may be the right choice for your home, restaurant or hospitality facility. Being prepared and reacting quickly to a fire can be the difference between saving a structure or a life.
For more fire safety tips and to learn more about affordable fire protection and fire life safety systems, check out the Fire and Life Safety America blog!