COURTESY OF THE RED CROSS
More than any other room in the house, the kitchen is the most likely room in the house to catch fire. Cooking is the primary cause of home fires in the country, and as the holidays are upon us, the American Red Cross wants to remind everyone of steps they can take to avoid a fire while cooking.
Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended – stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Other safety steps include:
- Check your food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
- Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
- Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
- Download the Red Cross First Aid App to have information at your fingertips if an emergency occurs. You can find out more about all of the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/apps.
Deep frying a turkey has become a popular holiday tradition. If you will be using a turkey fryer, always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions; here are some tips for safer use:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, located a safe distance from buildings and flammable material.
- Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to avoid accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. After use, continue to exercise extreme caution as the oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or even mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix and water can cause oil to spill over, starting a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.
- Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.