Any area of the home is prone to fires, but especially the kitchen. Many don't know that cooking fires are the most common causes of fire and injury within the home. From pans left unattended while hot on the stove to not having a fire extinguisher inspection along with a variety of less obvious causes, there is plenty for homeowners to be concerned with. Because house fires are extremely dangerous for your family, it's important to be educated on the most common causes. Thankfully there are some tips and preventative measures every homeowner should take, and they will ensure less of a chance of fire.
According to the NFPA, or National Fire Protection Association, kitchen fires are not only the top cause of home fires, the majority of injuries in the kitchen happen because victims try to fight the fire on their own. Completely avoiding them is the smartest option.
Don't Leave the Kitchen
Leaving food on the stove is the most common cause of a kitchen fire. Never leave while something is on the cooking, it's much smarter to turn off the stove or move the pan from the heat for a moment until returned. The same goes for food in the oven under the broiler; with such high heat it doesn't take long for foods to ignite. Always keep the oven door cracked when broiling.
It's also important to always take note of things on or around the stovetop. Items like oven mitts, kitchen towels, curtains and appliance cords can easily ignite when close to the burners. Always move flammable products away from the stove top. If using a towel to remove hot pans from the stove, make sure it's not hanging down where it could touch the burner and catch fire.
The Right Attire
Any clothing item with flowing, long parts such as loose-fitting shirts and even aprons depending on how they are constructed can catch fire. Stick with fitted tops and short sleeves. Otherwise, a fitted apron can keep clothing tied back or tucked away so it won't get in the way. Also, any long hair should be tied back.
Invest in Fire Safety Equipment
Always have a fire extinguisher in or close to the kitchen, and make sure fire extinguisher inspections are performed at least yearly. It's been proven that in the case of a fire, the fire extinguisher usually makes the difference between a minor disaster and the complete loss of a kitchen or home. However, don't just buy the extinguisher, mount it and forget about it. Make sure that the usage label is read, or take a class at a local provider so using it will be second nature.
It's also important to regularly change out the batteries in any smoke detectors. Most homes have a smoke detector in the kitchen or a nearby room which is great, but having an inoperable detector is pointless! Check or change the battery about every six months to be safe. There are actually companies that can be contracted to come out and perform detector and fire extinguisher inspections for a small fee, which is great because there's less chance of forgetting.
Dispose of Cooking Oils Correctly
When it comes to cooking with oil, it's smart to know the smoke points of various oils. Smoke points are the temperature where oil breaks down and becomes a fire hazard. When this knowledge is gained one can avoid subjecting oil with low smoke points to high heat on the stove top. This can easily cause a fire.
Never throw hot grease into the trash, even if it's not aflame. Something in the trash can catch fire. The best method is to cool the grease then pour it into an old coffee can. Also, be sure upon fire extinguisher inspection that it's the correct type for grease and oil fires, or for in the kitchen atmosphere.
By following these tips one can ensure their kitchen is safe, and never forget to schedule fire extinguisher inspection!