This week is Fire Prevention Week which means it’s time to discuss some important topics in regards to how you can prevent a house fire and what to do in case of such emergency. Today’s topic is how to prevent fires while cooking. Here are some specific points, according to the National Fire Protection Association:
- Be attentive at all times while cooking, especially if you are frying, grilling or broiling food. While it may be easy to get distracted while cooking, it is important to keep an eye on your stove or oven throughout the process. Also make sure to stay in the kitchen at all times while a stove burner is on. Finally, be very mindful if you are cooking while sleepy or after having consumed alcohol.
- Keep your stovetop clear and cleaned. Make sure anything that could easily catch fire, such as food packaging, oven mitts or towels, are a safe distance from burners. A routine cleaning of your stovetop can prevent crumbs and other materials from catching fire unexpectedly.
- Grease fires represent over a quarter of reported kitchen fires, and are often the most dangerous and hard to contain. In the case of a grease fire, do the following (in order of priority):
- Turn off the heat
- Cover the pot or pan with a metal lid to suffocate the fire (glass lids with shatter)
- Use baking soda to extinguish smaller grease fires (be aware that it will take a large quantity)
- Spray with Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
- DO NOT pour water on the fire as it may cause the oil to splash and spread the fire
- If there is a fire despite these protocols, make sure to use your fire escape plan and evacuate the home quickly. It may be tempting to try to put the fire out yourself, but things can escalate quickly and put you and your housemates in danger. Call 9-1-1 or the fire emergency number immediately after evacuating the home.