Kitchen fires are the most common household fires by far, according to FEMA. While the overall rate of fires is down, they still cause thousands of injuries and deaths per year. Middle-aged adults are most likely to be injured, because they are trying to put out the fire. The elderly are most likely to die in a fire, because they may struggle to evacuate by themselves. Plus, no matter your age, a fire can ruin Thanksgiving. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
Don’t Leave the Kitchen For Extended Periods
If you’re not around when a small fire starts, it can quickly become serious. Don’t leave the kitchen when you’re cooking, especially if you’re using high-heat appliances or cooking with grease.
Although, you will have to leave the kitchen while you’re cooking a turkey, who could stand in there for six hours? Check on the oven every twenty minutes while you’re cooking the turkey, and more often in the last two hours. Once you start cooking other dishes, don’t leave the kitchen, especially not when the burners are on.
Choose Your Kitchen Accessories Wisely
Some kitchen accessories are more dangerous than others. For example, deep fryers and pressure cookers are more likely to cause serious injury than a mixer or breadmaker, although they may save you precious time on Thanksgiving. Buy potentially dangerous equipment only from reputable companies that offer warranties and are diligent about their quality control.
You should also ensure the device has all of the safety features you would expect. For example, a deep fryer should have:
- Digital timer that automatically stops frying
- Magnetic power cord that releases automatically or quickly after you press a button
- Handles that extend at least a few inches away from the fryer opening
You should also be sure to unplug your accessories when they aren’t in use, so they can’t cause an electrical fire.
Maintain Your Appliances
You should clean up your appliances quickly after spills because caked on food can cause or spread fires. Spills in the oven can cause fires too, so clean your oven after preparing a messy meal and once every three months. Some ovens have an automatic cleaning cycle that makes the task much easier. You should run this cycle a few days before you cook your Thanksgiving meal.
Kitchen appliances can malfunction and cause a fire too. Avoid using older appliances that were not built to modern safety standards. If you notice a problem with your appliance, stop using it until you replace it or have it professionally repaired.
Loose clothing and long hair will put you in danger if a fire breaks out. Always have your hair pulled back when you’re cooking. Roll up your sleeves and ensure your apron strings aren’t flying around. If the strings are very long, tie them in a bow to restrict them.
Have a Fire Extinguisher
Despite your best efforts, fires may still happen. It’s important to be prepared for when they do, so check out our list of the 5 best fire extinguishers for kitchens, and put one in your kitchen today.