Kitchen Fire Safety
Kitchen fires are the number one cause of residential fire in the United States. 90% of kitchen fires are cooking related. Simply following these basic fire safety tips can prevent kitchen fires.
- Never leave cooking unattended. Stay in the kitchen whenever anything is cooking, and do not leave food cooking on your stove or in your oven when you leave home.
- Keep appliances clean. Built-up grease catches fire easily. Wipe appliance surfaces after spills and clean stove surfaces and ovens regularly.
- Be alert. Studies show that 43 percent of the people who have died in cooking fires were asleep. Do not attempt to cook if you have been drinking alcohol or are drowsy.
- Wear close-fitting sleeves. Loose sleeves can dangle too close to hot stove burners and catch fire. Protect yourself by wearing sleeves that fit snugly or rolling up your sleeves securely when you cook.
If A Fire Starts
- Smother a grease fire
- Never pour water on a cooking fire
- If a pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off your stove burner
- Fires grow very rapidly and can double in size every 30 seconds
- Call 911 immediately after discovering a fire
Keep Flammable Objects Clear of the Stove
Potholders, dishtowels, and curtains catch fire easily. Keep such items a safe distance from your stove.
Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Plugging too many kitchen appliances - especially heat-producing appliances such as toasters, coffee pots, waffle irons, or electric frying pans - into the same electrical outlets or circuits could overload your circuit, overheat, or cause a fire. Keep heat-producing appliances out from under cabinets and away from walls or curtains. Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords immediately. If an electrical appliance gets wet inside, have it serviced before using it again.
Microwave ovens stay cool, but what’s cooked in them can be very hot. Use pot holders when removing food from microwave ovens. Remove lids from packaged microwave foods carefully to prevent steam burns, and test food temperature before eating. If anything catches fire in your microwave, keep the door closed and turn off or unplug the microwave. Opening the door will only feed oxygen to the fire. Do not use the oven again until it is serviced.
Turn Pot Handles Inward
A pot handle sticking out over the edge of your stove can be bumped in passing or grabbed by a child. Prevent burns and stove-top fires by always turning handles in toward the back of the stove.
Learn First Aid for Burns
Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. This will minimize skin damage and ease the pain. Never apply butter or other greases to a burn. If burned skin is blistered or changed, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Winter Fire Safety Practices
As the weather turns colder, fires due tend to increase. Even a small fire can be devastating to a family. Most fires that occur in single and multi-family residential homes are caused by unattended cooking. This, unfortunately, has been the leading cause of fires in the home for over 20 years. This is common knowledge to many of us but the second leading cause of a fire in the home is simple combustibles. Fires often occur when combustible items such as blankets and other fabrics come in contact with space heaters or open flame or embers from wood-fired heaters or fireplaces.
Once a fire starts, it can move rapidly through a house, and even the best efforts to put it out may prove futile the older the home, the more significant the fire spread potential. As the wood framing of a home age, it becomes more susceptible to ignition allowing the fire to grow very rapidly.
Fire protection in any home is necessary, but taking a few precautions can make the biggest difference. Hears a few steps that can ensure you and your family are protected.
Escape Plans. We all learned in school to have two ways out. This absolutely is step one. Teach everyone in your home who is capable of escaping without the assistance of an adult how to get out. Designate a meeting place for all family members and practice your safety plan at least every six months.
Smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are your best alerting tool in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors are especially important during the night when everyone is sleeping. The NFPA found that 6 in 10 deaths in house fires occurred in homes that did not have working smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and are sometimes available at no cost from the fire department. The best recommendation for increased safety is interconnected smoke detectors. Having interconnected smoke detectors means if one goes off, they all will alarm. This alerts everyone throughout the house in the event of a fire.
Fire Extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are your best defense if a fire occurs. Proper use of fire extinguishers can keep small fires from getting out of control. Choose fire extinguishers that are light enough for everyone in the home to use and have simple pull-type mechanisms that don’t require much strength. Choose ABC rated extinguisher as they can be used on all types of fires from common combustibles, grease, and gasoline and electrical fires. If you would like training on the proper use of extinguishers, we can provide no-cost training.
Install arc-fault circuit interrupters. Newer homes probably already have these ingenious little gadgets, but older homes may not. They work by detecting electrical arcing that may occur when a wire buried deep in a wall begins to fail, when arcing is detected the AFCI’s “trip” shutting off to the outlet or group of outlets.
Maintain it all. Finally, test everything regularly. Smoke detectors should be tested monthly, practice your escape plan during testing to make sure everyone knows the plan. Replace smoke detector batteries every six months unless you have one of the newer models that have ten-year batteries. The entire smoke detector should be replaced if it’s older than ten years.
Does this all sound like a lot? It’s not. Practicing fire drills and testing your smoke detectors is a great way to teach young children the skills that will keep them safe for the rest of their lives and can be a fun family activity. Your home and your family deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing what to do.