Kitchen Fire Safety
Most kitchen fires can be prevented by following these basic fire safety tips.
- Never leave cooking unattended. Never leave food cooking on your stove or in your oven when you leave home, and stay in the kitchen whenever anything is cooking. Turn off stoves and appliances promptly when you're finished using them, and unplug small electrical appliances when they are not in use.
- Keep appliances clean. Built-up grease catches fire easily. Wipe appliance surfaces after spills and clean stove surfaces and ovens regularly.
- Keep flammable objects clear of the stove. Potholders, dish towels, and curtains catch fire easily. Keep such items a safe distance from your stove.
- Keep cooking areas safe. Enforce a "kid-free" zone three feet (one meter) around your kitchen range. And keep pets from underfoot when you're cooking.
- Don't overload electrical outlets. Plugging too many kitchen appliances — especially heat-producing appliances such as toasters, coffee pots, waffle irons, or electric frying pans — into the same electrical outlet or circuit could overload your circuit, overheat, or cause a fire. Plug only one electrical cord into each receptacle. Keep heat-producing appliances away from walls or curtains. Replace any frayed or cracked electrical cord immediately. Never use an appliance cord with a cracked, loose, or damaged plug. If an electrical appliance gets wet inside, have it serviced before using it again.
- Wear close-fitting sleeves. Loose sleeves can dangle too close to hot stove burners and catch fire. Protect yourself by wearing sleeves that fit snugly or by rolling up your sleeves securely when you cook. Don't store things on or above your stove. Clothing can catch fire when you lean over stove burners to reach shelves.
- Turn pot handles in. A pot handle sticking out over the edge of your stove can be bumped in passing or grabbed by a child. Prevent burns and stove-top fires by using back burners when possible and by always turning pot handles in toward the back of the stove.
- Heat oil slowly. Heat oil slowly over moderate heat and never leave hot oil unattended.
- Be alert. Do Not attempt to cook if you have been drinking alcohol or are drowsy.
Smother a grease fire. If a pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off your stove burner. Leave the lid on until completely cool. (Pouring water on or discharging a fire extinguisher at a pan of burning grease could spread the fire.) If a fire starts in your oven, close the oven door and turn off the heat source. If the flames do not go out immediately, call the fire department.
Microwave safely. Microwave ovens stay cool, but what's cooked in them can be very hot. Use potholders when removing food from microwave ovens. Remove lids from packaged microwave foods carefully to prevent steam burns, and test food temperature before eating.
Close the door on microwave fires. If anything catches fire in your microwave, keep the door closed and turn off or unplug the microwave. Opening the door will only feed oxygen to the fire. Do not use the oven again until it is serviced.
First aid for burns. Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. This will minimize skin damage and ease the pain. Never apply butter or other grease to a burn. If burned skin is blistered or charred, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Stop, drop, and roll. If your clothing catches on fire, do not run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames. If someone else's clothes catch fire, push them to the ground and roll them over and over, or smother the flames with a flame-resistent blanket or carpet. Cool the burn with water and call for help.