With holiday gatherings, company to feed, and dishes to prepare, your kitchen likely gets a lot of use during this time of year. And with more kitchen fires happening in the last two months of the calendar year than in other months, it’s important to ensure your kitchen is as safe as it can be. Here are seven tips for keeping your kitchen safe and your holidays disaster-free.
1. Test Smoke Detectors
Before you start your holiday cooking, make sure your smoke detectors are working properly and that the batteries have been recently replaced. According to the NFPA, “three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).”
2. Keep A Fire Extinguisher Handy
Having a fire extinguisher nearby will keep an unexpected kitchen fire from escalating quickly. Make sure you store your fire extinguisher in a place that is easy to access, and also make sure each of your family members knows where to find it.
3. Be Careful With Steam
Steam, while not typically thought of as dangerous, can cause serious burns. Use caution when lifting the lid off of boiling pots of water or when opening a steamed bags straight out of the microwave.
4. Wear Appropriate Clothing
When cooking, it’s best to wear clothing that cannot easily get caught on handles. If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back. Also avoid wearing bracelets and dangling jewelry, just in case.
5. Keep Lids Nearby
Grease is responsible for most kitchen fires, so if you are frying something, make sure you have a lid nearby to smother a small grease fire if one should start.
6. Keep Appliances In Working Order
It’s smart to make sure your major cooking appliances are working properly — especially if they are on the older side. Be sure to keep your oven clean and stove wiped down. If you notice any appliance issues, unplug the appliance and have it examined by a professional at before using it again.
7. Unplug If Not In Use
Small appliances like toasters, coffee pots, and slow-cookers should be unplugged when they are not in use. Even when powered off, these appliances continue to draw electricity when plugged into an electrical outlet. To avoid any potential danger, it’s best to leave them unplugged when you aren’t using them.