According to The National Fire Protection Association, cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries. In many cases, these fires are caused by frying food and cooking equipment. A fire has the potential to ruin your home, belongings, and health. Often times, this results in putting time, money, and continuous effort into fire damage restoration before you can restore balance in your life, again.
Here are some basic tips to improve cooking safety and prevent fires of all kinds:
- If you move into a new home or business, locate or purchase the proper amount of fire extinguishers. If there are existing fire extinguishers, ensure they are current and up to code. Make sure you educate yourself on the kinds of extinguishers you can purchase. You will want to read the instructions when you purchase or locate them. It will be much easier to take action under pressure if you prepare before the event happens. We highly recommend purchasing a fire blanket, as well.
- Stay nearby and regularly check on food whether you are simmering, baking, roasting, frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food. Use a timer to track what you are cooking rather than guessing or estimating how long you should be certain foods. Keep the stove top and surround areas clear of clutter to prevent items from catching on fire. Never leave a property while any cooking equipment is on. If you must leave, make sure to double check that you have turned your cooking equipment off before leaving.
- If you are starting to have trouble breathing and smoke is becoming overwhelming, the fire has likely grown beyond your control. Quickly exit the area and close any doors in your path. Call 9-1-1. Do not try and retrieve any personal or sentimental items. Risking your health to protect your belongings could end up subjecting you to life-threatening burns, smoke inhalation poisoning, and even death.
- Keep Charcoal sealed and stored in a dry, cool place. Damp Charcoal has the potential to ignite itself.
- Keep flammable liquids stored in a cool, dry room away from light bulbs, and any heat sources. It is recommended to keep them in a labeled metal container if not already purchased that way.
Learn the types of fires you may need to put out:
The majority of kitchen fires are grease fires. Stay calm when handling the fire, as your reaction will dictate the outcome of the fire. First reactions usually involve throwing water on a fire to extinguish the flames. Adding water to a grease fire can result in the fire spreading, not ending. If you are using a smaller pot that has a lid, try suffocating the fire and turning off the heat once the flame is contained, as the fire will diminish without oxygen fueling it. For larger fires, a Class B Fire Extinguisher is recommended and can handle gas and oil fires. If you do not have a Class B fire extinguisher, we recommend keeping Baking Soda nearby as this can also be used to help put out a grease fire. Never turn your exhaust fan on, or move the pan that has caught fire.
Make sure you clean your oven regularly to avoid greasy build up. A greasy broiler can actually catch fire, even while you’re preheating the oven. If a fire starts, make sure to turn off the oven, and keep the door closed so little oxygen has access to fuel the fire. This would also require a class B fire extinguisher.
If a gas fire starts, shut off your gas supply immediately, and smother with your fire blanket, a large rug, blanket, or type B extinguisher. You can also cool with water. Once the fire is out, make sure to ventilate the area so no gasses are left in the air, and call the fire department to come check the pipes for any future hazards.
Any time an electrical fire starts, switch off the appliance if possible, and smother with a fire blanket or Type C Fire Extinguisher. Do not try to add water to an electrical fire. You could put yourself in a position to be shocked.