Kitchen Fire Safety

Do you realize that a good amount of the fire hazards in your home are in your kitchen? Lots of heat sources are in the kitchen like your oven, stovetop and a toaster oven. Most of the time your kitchen is usually a pretty safe place as long as you keep an eye on things and follow fire safety rules. Knowing how to handle a kitchen fire can mean the difference between a scare and a tragedy.

There are several potential causes of kitchen fires. There are the usual fire hazards such as electrical shorts; however you also have kitchen-specific risks such as splashing oil or something falling onto a heating element.  Your safety measures in the kitchen area should be a bit wider reaching than the rest of your home.

A smoke detector is vital in the kitchen and so is a fire extinguisher that you can access easily. Make sure you choose the right fire extinguisher – opt for an ABC fire extinguisher if you can. These can be used on Class A (trash/wood/paper), Class B (oil and liquids) and Class C (electrical equipment) fires.  These can be found at Home Depot, Lowes or another hardware store.

Set aside an area in the kitchen where you can put oven mitts, cookbooks and similar materials that are far enough away from the stovetop to prevent any of them from falling onto a hot surface. Inspect kitchen appliances regularly for damaged cords or other fire hazards and replace anything that could present a danger.

If a fire breaks out in your oven, your first instinct is likely to open the oven and try to put the fire out. That’s one of the worst things that you can do, though; opening the oven provides much-needed air to the fire and can make it significantly worse. Instead, turn off the oven and leave the door closed. This will limit the availability of oxygen, causing the fire to die down and eventually go out on its own. Keep an eye on the fire, though, if it doesn’t start dying out or seems to be getting stronger, you should call the fire department to deal with it.

Stovetop fires come in several forms such as if something falls onto a hot burner that can cause a fire. If oil or other flammable liquids get too hot or splash out of a pan that can also cause a fire. Even letting a pan boil dry can cause a fire. Fortunately, the majority of stovetop fires are preventable by keeping an eye on the stove whenever there’s at least one hot burner.

If a fire breaks out on the stovetop, there are a few things that you can do. If the fire is very small fire such as a grease fire in a pan, simply putting a metal lid on the pan and that may be enough to put the fire out. Slightly larger fires can be doused using baking soda, but do NOT use flour… though you may have heard that flour is okay to use, flour is finely ground dried plant material and is actually very flammable. Your fire extinguisher is a great option, as is calling the fire department before things get too far out of control.

The main points to remember regarding fire safety is to ensure that your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment stay in good working order, in case you need them.  It’s recommended to change the batteries in the smoke detectors in your home every six months, and replace smoke detectors every 10 years (I just replaced all of mine).

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Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

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