According to the NFPA, ranges or cooktops were the cause of 61% of all reported house fires and 78% of cooking related injuries. These reports peak during Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, before you bake your famous pumpkin pie or your grandma’s carrots, here are some things to remember:
- Never leave burners unattended. You can easily become distracted and forget you have something cooking on the stove. It’s a good idea to set timers to alert you, not only when food is done cooking, but more frequently so you remember to check on things if you’re multitasking.
- Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are in working condition. Never disable your alarms, this can be dangerous in the event of a fire. The sooner you know there’s smoke in your home, the better your chances of preventing an actual fire.
- Make sure to regularly clean in and around your oven and stove top, this can reduce the chances of a fire. Also keep all vents near your cooking area free from debris to keep your home properly ventilated.
Grease and oil can be incredibly dangerous. This is because oil and grease are fuel for fires. When oil begins to smoke, that means it is too hot and about to ignite into flames. If you notice your oil smoking, immediately turn the heat down or turn it off. This can prevent a fire.
If a fire does break out, if you can safely, turn the heat source off. Always keep a metal lid or baking sheet nearby when cooking with oil. This can be used to smother the fire. Do not throw water or anything flammable like a dish towel onto the fire. This will only cause the fire to spread. If you don’t have a metal lid or baking sheet, you can use baking soda or salt to put out the flames. But only if you can safely do so.
Fires can be incredibly dangerous and you should always take precautions when cooking in the kitchen. If you are unsure about how to handle a kitchen fire, call 911. It is better to be safe than sorry in the case of any fire or emergency situation.