Holiday Cooking Fire Safety Tips
From Berthoud Fire Protection District
Preparing a special meal for friends and family especially around the holidays, is a time-honored and much loved tradition, but the kitchen can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don’t practice safe cooking behaviors. The cooking stove or range is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries. Before you begin preparing your next meal, stop and think about the simple ways you can reduce your risk of becoming a statistic.
Because Berthoud Fire Protection cares about you, your family and your home, we prepared this list of safety suggestions.
Good Cooks Know Safety is Always on the Menu
Use Good Judgment
Avoid cooking if you’ve been drinking alcohol or are taking medication or other substances that can cause drowsiness. The kitchen is no place to be if your judgment and ability to focus are impaired.
Keep High and Dry
Keep anything that can catch fire- potholders, dish towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, or curtains away from the stovetop heating elements or open flames.
Get a handle on safety
Always keep the handles of pots or pans on your stovetop pointed away from the front edge of the stovetop. You will be less likely to bump into them and children less likely to reach them. Use the back burners instead of front ones whenever possible.
Talking on the phone, watching your favorite television program and other distractions can lead to trouble in the kitchen. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
Create kid-free and pet-free zones.
As eager as young cooks may be to help prepare or serve food, they are safer away from the kitchen. Consider making your kitchen a childfree zone during busy holiday times or allow children to help only when you can focus on them completely and all heat sources are off/cool to the touch. Keep pets out of the kitchen, too.
Keep track of time
Setting a timer is a good idea when your dish is baking inside the oven or if you are simmering food on the stovetop. Not only will you avoid overdone meals, but the timer reminds you to stay alert and focused.
If you have a cooking fire
When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 after you leave.
If you decide to fight the fire:
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
- For a microwave oven fire, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
- For a stovetop fire, keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when cooking, if a small grease fire starts in a pan; smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan.
- Never use water or a fire extinguisher in an attempt to extinguish a grease fire, as it might actually spread the fire.
For more tips check out these short, educational messages for safe home cooking to avoid fires and other burns at www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/research/other/cooking/index3.shtm
Courtesy of the Board of Directors, staff and firefighters of the Berthoud Fire Protection DistrictPrint This Post