Cooking fires are the primary cause of home fires and home fire injuries. The majority of kitchen fires start with the ignition of common household items such as wall coverings, paper or plastic bags, dishrags, etc. You can do a lot to prevent kitchen fires. Although you can’t remove every possible source of a kitchen fire, you can minimize fire risks by removing hazards and keeping your kitchen clean. Don't be afraid to cook, just follow these prevention tips to keep your kitchen safe:
- Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
- Keep cooking areas clean and clear of potholders, towels, rags, curtains and food packaging.
- Keep children and pets away from cooking areas by creating a three-foot “kid–free zone” around the stove.
- Turn pot handles inward so they can’t be bumped and children can’t grab them.
- Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.
- Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.
- Keep all appliances clean and free of spills or grease that may catch fire.
- Always keep a potholder, oven mitt and lid handy. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don’t remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire and never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire, as it can spray or shoot burning grease around the kitchen, thus spreading the fire.
- If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing.
- Do not use metals in the microwave. If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave. Food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot. Remove the lids or other coverings from microwaved food carefully to prevent steam burns.
- Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year or as needed.