Did you know that according to NFPA on average there are over 170,000 house fires per year started by cooking? The result of the fires and smoke damage were over 500 deaths and more than a billion dollars in damages. A large portion of these fires, the ones who lost their lives to their fires were actually asleep when the fires started. The best way to combat these numbers is to be educated on how to prevent kitchen fires and the smoke damage to your home. We have compiled a list of some helpful ways to prevent kitchen fires from starting.
One step that most people think would be obvious, however it is not uncommon to try to multitask while cooking. We think going into the other room for just a short time to finish watching the news but in just a matter of minutes a small fire could ignite. Quickly filling the house with smoke. Circumstance in which you absolutely must walk away from the kitchen while cooking turn everything off. Also move any pans, food, or other items from the burners/ovens.
When cooking it is very important that you keep the cooking area around the appliance clear. If you leave your cooking mitts, utensils or other flammable items too close to the oven or stove, they could accidentally come in contact with the burner and ignite.
Most people know not to put metal in the microwave because it can spark and catch fire, but it’s not uncommon for people to use a dish that looks glass or ceramic only to find out when the microwave starts the dish is lined with metal. Always take an extra second to look carefully at the item you are about to use and make certain it is microwave safe.
Another important way to prevent kitchen fires is to make sure all equipment is in good operating order. All appliances should be maintained in accordance with the manual. Faulty equipment accounted for 58.6% of kitchen fires from 2014 to 2016.
Another cause of fires in which most people do not put a lot of thought into is their clothing. When cooking, you do not want to have on baggy clothes or long sleeves. Improperly fitted clothing can easily sag over and lay against the heating elements causing a fire. Even when using an apron, make sure it is tightly fitted and tied around firmly with no loose strings.
When frying food always be aware that the level of oil in the pan or deep fry will only rise once you add your food. It is suggested that you only fill the oil approx. ⅓ of the way. This will allow space for the food and prevent oil from spilling over or coming in direct contact with any electrical or heat elements.
Although this will not prevent a kitchen fire, we strongly suggest having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Another helpful item would be an operating fire detector in the kitchen. Always try to take safety measures when cooking. In the case of a fire, if you are uncertain rather or not you will be able to get the flames under control, be safe, go outside and call 911 immediately.