Home Cooking Safety Tips

These tips are useful to keep in mind when cooking at home.

Wendy Light, CIC, CWCA

Fires originating in the kitchen are the leading cause of home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association. Kitchen fires can start without warning and quickly spread. Moreover, you or your family could be overwhelmed by the smoke, become injured, or in the worst case, die. So, what can you do to prevent these accidents? We offer the following simple safety tips:

First and foremost, never leave your home while cooking, whether inside or out. Do not cook if you are sleepy or have been consuming alcoholic beverages. Keep all food packaging, oven mitts, towels, shirt sleeves, and anything else that can catch fire away from all cooking surfaces. While you are frying, broiling, roasting, and grilling foods, check in on the cooking process on a regular basis. Use a timer to reminder yourself to look in on the cooking food. Finally, if you must leave – turn off all appliances, including the grill.

Propane and charcoal grill fires account for more than 40% of all home fires. Never use these cooking appliances inside of your home or garage. Ensure your grill is placed at least five feet from your home’s exterior and deck railings. Trim back tree branches and never leave your grill unattended. Before starting up your grill, make sure that you have cleaned it by removing any grease build up with your appropriate grilling tools. Be safe when starting your charcoal grills – use only approved electrical charcoal starters or fluids. Never improvise and use other flammable liquids such as gasoline. If you smell a propane leak, turn off the cylinder, and call 911. Always allow your coals to properly cool down and empty them only into a metal container that is equipped with a lid.

What do you do in the event of a fire? First, do NOT Panic.

• Approach the fire in a calm manner

• Cover the pan or pot with a lid and turn off the oven / burner

• Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher

• Never use water or flour on fires

• If the fire grows, call 911, shut the kitchen doors to contain the fire, and evacuate your home

• Remember to annually practice your family’s emergency evacuation plan

Make sure that your smoke detectors have fresh batteries. Change the batteries in the spring and fall. Do not disable these important safety devices while you or someone in your family is learning how to cook. Obtain a kitchen fire extinguisher from your local home improvement or hardware store and have a box of baking soda handy.

Keeping your family safe should be your top priority. Therefore, take a few minutes to share the information contained within this bulletin with those you care for. Always practice safe cooking by never leaving your cooking unattended, turning pot handles so that children cannot reach them, keeping a fire extinguisher and baking soda handy, and having fun cooking!

The information and suggestions contained in this material have been developed from sources believed to be reliable. However, Frankenmuth Insurance accepts no legal responsibility for correctness or completeness of this material, or its application to specific factual situations.

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