Keeping safe from kitchen fires: Cooking the holiday meal

The American Fire Protection Association reports that the peak day for home cooking fires is Thanksgiving Day. Follow these safety tips to help protect your family from kitchen fires.

According to the American Red Cross (ARC) “the kitchen is the setting of more fires than any other room in the house, and cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home.” Coinciding, the American Fire Protection Association (AFPA) reports that the peak day for home cooking fires is Thanksgiving Day.

Michigan State University Extension along with ARC and AFPA recommends these very important safety tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

  • Attire while cooking: Never wear clothing that is loose or hanging, it can easily catch on fire.
  • While cooking, stay in the kitchen and pay attention to the stove and oven, this includes grilling, frying, broiling or cooking any food with an open flame. Stay in the home when food is cooking, if you must leave, turn off the stove.
  • Keep all items that could catch on fire away from open flames or other heat sources – pot holders, oven mitts, paper, etc.
  • Keep stoves and ovens clean from grease and debris so that fires cannot ignite.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and know how to use it. Check it to make sure it has not expired.
  • Have a “kids free” zone – keep children out of the kitchen when cooking.
  • Have a fire escape plan and make sure that all family members know the route. Practice the plan to ensure all family members will be safe.
  • Install fire alarms, and replace batteries regularly.
  • Remember to check the kitchen before going to bed, to make sure all appliances are turned off.

Finally, if a fire starts, do not mix water and grease. In the event of a grease fire, never pour water on it – this will cause it to spread. Use a fire extinguisher, or when in doubt, get out and call for help. You can put a lid on the fire. If a pan catches fire, slide a lid over the pan and turn off the stove burner. Leave the lid on until it is completely cool. Keep the oven or microwave door shut if a fire starts, turning off the heat. If the flames do not go out immediately, get out and call for help. If your clothes catch fire, smother them on the kitchen floor before getting out of the house. Stop, drop and roll. Then call the fire department.

Be sure to consider senior family members and any others who may have difficulty moving. Discuss what needs to happen if you need to evacuate quickly and make sure all special items are accessible. Home fires are preventable.

Having an enjoyable holiday or family gathering can be safe from fires if you and your family follow these safety tips.

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