With almost half of all home fires starting in the kitchen, it’s important that you know how to prevent fires in yours. During Fire Prevention Week, the NFPA have declared the theme to be fire kitchen safety.
Here’s how to prevent fires in your kitchen, and what to do if one breaks out.
NFPA Fire Prevention Week
This year, the theme is ‘Serve Up Fire Safety In The Kitchen’. With home cooking and kitchens being the host of so many fires, it’s an area that needs to be addressed. Their work includes putting out free educational materials, games and apps to help educate kids, and videos that show you how to stay safe while cooking.
With all these tools, they aim to keep everyone safe in the kitchen by raising awareness. So how can you be sure you’re safe when cooking?
Why Kitchen Fires are So Common
Why is it that kitchen fires are so common in the home? As the area uses several heated items, many electrical items, and of course open flames, it’s a dangerous place to be. If you’re paying full attention and are fully versed in how to use all the equipment, then you’ll be safe. However, it only takes a moment in the kitchen for a fire to start and spread.
Even when you’re as careful as can be though, you can’t reduce that chance of fire to zero. It’s important that you do everything you can to prevent them, and know what to do if a fire starts.
How to Prevent Kitchen Fires
Let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent a kitchen fire:
Keep all equipment in good repair: If all cooking equipment is in good condition, then you shouldn’t have to worry about any fires breaking out. Clean out equipment regularly, to ensure that no flammable items are left in them. For example, the crumb tray on your toaster should be cleaned out regularly, to reduce the chance of fire.
Don’t use metal in the microwave: This is something that seems like common knowledge, but many people don’t know that this is dangerous. If you use metal, such as metal bowls or tin foil in a microwave, this can easily cause a spark. If you do this, it can easily catch fire.
Keep flammable items away from the stove: When cooking, it’s easy to forget that you’ve left a dish cloth, food packaging, or paper towels near the stove. However, if they’re too close when you turn the stove on, they’ll catch fire and spread.
Be fully aware when cooking: You need to be fully aware when cooking, so you can catch any fire risks before a fire occurs. If you’ve been drinking or are feeling tired, don’t attempt to cook.
Never leave cooking unattended: While you’re waiting for dinner to cook, it’s very tempting to walk out of the kitchen for a moment, or to check your phone. Never do this though, as a fire can break out and spread quicker than you’d think. You want to be there and able to tackle it, should it happen.
Be careful with children: There are many families that like to cook together, but do keep an eye on your kids when you’re cooking. It’s a good idea to put them in charge of safer jobs, like mixing ingredients, rather than handling the stove.
Unplug electrical equipment: When you’re not using electrical equipment, unplug it. If the equipment isn’t connected to a source of power, it’s less likely to cause a fire.
What to Do in the Event of a Fire
No matter how careful you are, sometimes a fire will break out. If that happens, there’s no need to panic. If you’re prepared, you should be able to handle it before it causes any injury or damage.
Have an escape plan: Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but you should have an escape plan in case of a fire. Make sure your whole family knows it and practices it. You all should know what to do if you need to get out of the house.
Have fire extinguishing materials at the ready: If a fire does occur, you’ll need to be able to put it out. Keep a fire extinguisher in your home, ready just in case. Make sure you know how to use it, so you’ll be ready should you need to use it.
Having a fire blanket is a very good idea in a kitchen, too. They’re great for putting out grease and oil fires, as water will only spread these kinds of fires.
Act fast: If a fire has broken out, you’ll need to act fast. The quicker you can put the fire out, the smaller and less damaging it will be. Remember though, if it’s too large or dangerous to handle, you need to get out and call 911 for help.
Remove oxygen: The best way to stop kitchen fires is to remove the source of oxygen. If the fire is in your oven, turn it off and shut the door to cut off the air supply. If the fire has started in a pan on the stove, use an oven mitt and clap a lid onto it. Take the pan off the burner and allow the lack of oxygen to stop the fire.
Don’t swat at the fire: Some people try to put fires out by swatting at them with dishcloths or other fabric. This will just spread the flames, so avoid doing this.
Fire safety in the kitchen is so important, and that’s why the NFPA has chosen to focus on it this week. Follow this guide to prevent fires in your kitchen, and quickly deal with a fire should one occur. If you’re well prepared, you’ll be able to protect your family and your home.