The kitchen is a gathering place in many homes, but did you know that more home fires start in the kitchen than in any other area of the home? Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries. This means it is important for everyone to know how to prevent fires in the kitchen. Follow these five tips to keep your kitchen safe.
1. Stay in the Kitchen While Cooking
90% of kitchen fires are caused by unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking—it is not a time to multitask. If you need to leave the kitchen unexpectedly, turn off the stove. Perfectly cooked eggs aren’t worth a kitchen fire.
2. Dress Appropriately
Cooking isn’t always an athletic feat, but you do need to dress for the occasion. Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing, roll up long sleeves, and tie back hair. You don’t want to worry about something catching fire while cooking with your gas range or pulling a warm loaf of bread out of the oven.
3. Keep Your Kitchen Clean and Clutter Free
A clean kitchen isn’t just easier to work in, it is safer. Keep your stovetop clean—things like grease buildup can cause fires. Avoid clutter by keeping the area around major appliances clear. Store potholders, dishtowels, and other flammable items far away from stovetops.
4. Be Careful With Appliances
Check the electrical cords to your appliances. Are they frayed or cracked? If so they are a fire hazard. You should also make sure you don’t overload electrical outlets by plugging too many appliances into them. After purchasing items from places like Atlas Appliances, be sure to carefully read the manuals and follow the instructions for recommended use.
Most appliances are perfectly safe if used correctly. Always be attentive when you are using them—you probably know that you can’t put metal in the microwave, but if you are absent-minded while cooking and forget to remove a metal spoon from a dish you are reheating, you could get a startling reminder. To be safe, always unplug appliances like the toaster, coffee maker, and electric mixer when you aren’t using them (especially if they are near your stove).
5. Know How to Put Out a Fire
While following the above tips should help you prevent kitchen fires, it is important to know what to do if something happens so you can prevent the fire from spreading. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and learn how to use it. If something in your oven catches on fire, shut the door so the fire goes out by itself. If a pan with oil or grease catches fire- do NOT toss water on it. Smother it with something—ideally a lid that is fitted to the pan. If you can’t put the fire out safely, however, don’t stay to fight it. Get out of the house immediately. No amount of property damage is more important than your safety.
Follow these tips to keep your kitchen, and the rest of your home, safe from fires. For more fire safety tips, visit the American Red Cross website.