Statistics we don’t like. Cooking hazards are the number one cause of home fires. Older adults account for more than 30% of fire-related deaths annually.
While we don’t want to put a damper on the adage that the kitchen is the ‘heart of the home,’ we also want to remind you of some safety tips so you do not become a statistic and do continue to have the happiest time of the year, for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and anything in-between. Let it be a memory-maker in the best way.
The following list items have some ideas to help you to identify and correct potential kitchen hazards:
Childcare tip while cooking
Supervise the little ones closely in the kitchen. They should remain at least three feet away from all active appliances. Better still, have a children’s area “little table” planned out with small activities to keep them engaged such as, small puzzles, or cover the table with white butcher paper and supply crayons.
Clean the combustibles
Prevent potential fires by making sure that grease, spilled food and dust are not on the stove top. Meats often have high fat and sparks do fly when indoor/outdoor grilling–best to work in areas free of grease and flammables.
Check the stove before the big event
Check to see that the oven exhaust hood and duct over the stove are clean. Spend some time before the big event to make sure that surfaces are going to be safe and not subject to catching fire.
Dress for cooking, then dinner
Make sure your sleeves are ¾ length and avoid loose-fitting clothes that can catch on fire. Don’t try to be fashionable until after dinner. Make sure that your clothing fits the task to avoid the danger of serious burns.
Never leave cooking unattended. You can always turn off burners a couple minutes early and let the pots remain to still catch the heat, but wind down. If you must leave the room, designate a stove and oven watcher.
Baking, cooking and outlets
Locate all appliances away from the sink. There are lots of small appliances to use today for preparing feasts and fun parties. Remember to keep the cords and electric helpmates clear of the sink to avoid shocks.
Cluttered, take care
Keep combustibles like towels, paper, napkins and potholders away from heat sources. Spend some serious time clearing your cooking areas of clutter. Paper products are helpful but not near flame.
Take a break…
If you are not using the toaster, unplug it and anything that’s not in use. Not only will you save energy but why worry about potential overheating or worse. Also, when in use, plug countertop appliances into ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI-protected outlets).