Cooking Safety Do's and Don'ts
For many, the kitchen is a space to be creative and cook meals that bring the family together, and yet for others it’s a space in their home or apartment they barely use. For some they are just learning how to cook and navigate the kitchen. Regardless of how experienced you may be in the kitchen, accidents happen. You can help reduce your risk of starting a kitchen fire by following these cooking safety tips, as well as ensuring your home is well-equipped with the necessary fire safety equipment, like a fire extinguisher.
1. Always Remain in the Kitchen When Cooking
Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If you are simmering, roasting, baking or frying food, it is important that an adult remains in the kitchen at all times to keep an eye on the food so it does not burn. You should also use a timer when cooking to help ensure you don't lose track of time. This is especially important for beginner cooks.
2. Keep The Kitchen Free From Clutter
Remove items that do not belong in the kitchen to avoid any additional fire hazards. Also be mindful of kitchen materials that are flammable such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels, curtains, or even excess food packaging and keep them away from the stove-top. It is helpful to ensure that everything has a specific place in the kitchen to help reduce the risk of it being left out and catching fire.
3. Unplug or Turn Off Your Appliances
Unplug any counter-top appliance when they are not in use, like toasters and coffee machines. This will help reduce the risk of a fire starting. As soon as you are finished cooking your food, turn off the appliance that you are using. You should also clean off leftover dust, food crumbs, and grease from your stove-top after use.
4. Install Reliable Protection
Smoke alarms should be on every level of your home, as well as outside of each sleeping area and in every bedroom. Remember, smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances. If you are cooking something that involves a lot of smoke, you may be tempted to temporarily disable your house smoke alarms, however this leaves your home and family unprotected. Test your alarms monthly to ensure they are functioning properly and replace the batteries every six month. Fire extinguishers should also be placed on each level of your home, as well as in the kitchen and garage. Keep your kitchen fire extinguisher or fire extinguishing spray close by so it is easily accessible in the event of a fire. Cooking accidents happen, so it is important to be prepared when you forget the pizza in the oven or burn the bacon on the stove top.