Sunday, October 4, marks the beginning of Fire Protection Week.
Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) since 1922, this year’s campaign aims to provide everyone with the tools to stay safe in the kitchen.
When our everyday lives were upended by the COVID-19 Pandemic earlier this year, people began spending much more time at home and in their kitchens. When some food items were in short supply and restaurants closed, we still needed to feed our families. Baking bread and “pantry cooking” became de rigueur.
What the NFPA wants everyone to know is that cooking, especially unattended cooking, is the leading cause of house fires and fire injuries in the U.S. If you have to leave the house while cooking, turn off the burners and oven. If you are baking, roasting or simmering food use a timer, such as the one on your smartphone, as a reminder.
Scaling injuries are the second leading cause of all burn injuries, according to the NFPA. Hot coffee, soup and microwaved foods can cause significant injuries. Keep your face away from the oven, pot or microwave so the steam doesn’t cause a burn. Also, make sure to keep that cup of hot tea or coffee away from the table or counter edge.
SIMPLE PREVENTION TIPS
The best procedure is to keep children and pets three feet away from the stove while cooking. The NFPA has a printable chart on its website to help you designate the “kid-free zone.”
Make sure to keep kitchen towels, pot holders, food wrappers, cookbooks and other items away from the stovetop. Loose-fitting clothing might ignite if exposed to the cooking surface so roll up your sleeves while at the stove. Also, keep your stove and oven clean – grease and other spilled food can quickly spark a fire.
And if you’re tired, make a sandwich or have a bowl of cereal. It’s much safer than cooking.
If your child is old enough to cook, make sure to enforce these additional kitchen safety rules:
Only begin if an adult is in the house.
Wash your hands and tie back long hair before getting started.
Use a sturdy stool if you can’t reach the countertop comfortably.
Always use oven mitts when handling pots on the stove or items in the oven.
Hold the handle of a pot while stirring to prevent it from slipping off of the stove.
Make sure all burners and ovens are turned off before leaving the kitchen.
IN THE EVENT OF A KITCHEN FIRE
There are ways to keep a small fire in your kitchen from getting out of hand. A small pan fire can often be extinguished by putting a lid on the pan and turning off the burner.
If the fire is in an oven or microwave oven, turn off the power and keep the door closed until it is cool. Have the appliance serviced before using it again, the NFPA recommends.
Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with a fire extinguisher – it will only spread. Cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner. If these steps don’t work, get out of the house and call 9-1-1.
Delco Alarm Systems wants you and your family to safely enjoy your time in the kitchen. To access more information and valuable interactive videos for children about kitchen safety, visit the NFPA website for fire prevention.