Don't Let A Fire Ruin Your Thanksgiving! 3 Tips For Kitchen Safety
Even people who don't ordinarily like to cook can be tempted to toss a turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving. It's tradition, after all. But with so many people around the country struggling to cook giant birds and hams (along with all of the trimmings) in time for their guests to arrive, it should come as no surprise that the number of kitchen fires spikes dramatically on Thanksgiving. In fact, a kitchen fire is three times more likely on Thanksgiving than it is during the rest of the year. But that doesn't mean that you have to become a statistic. Check out some tips that will help keep your family and guests safe on Thanksgiving.
Of course the best option is to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. That can be more difficult on Thanksgiving than on an ordinary day. Your oven and range are working overtime with all of those dishes. Your turkey can easily drip grease onto the heating element. Your baked items can spill over and catch on fire. Your pans can spit grease or boil over.
Prevent fires from starting by lining your oven with tinfoil and sprinkling the bottom with baking soda. This will help prevent grease and oil fires from starting. On the range, it's important to keep the handles of your pots and pans turned inward and away from the burners, this will help keep wooden handles from catching fire and will also help prevent you from burning your hand on a hot handle. Set the timer on your oven or get an egg timer so that you don't get distracted and forget that there's something in the oven or on the stove that needs to be removed. Some cooks also find it handy to keep a wooden spoon in hand or in their apron pocket to remind them to be mindful of the dishes cooking in the kitchen.
In addition to creating kitchen conditions that prevent fires, you also want to be prepared in case a fire occurs despite your best efforts. Don't wear loose clothing while you're cooking in the kitchen – the last thing that you need is a flowing sleeve catching on a small spark and spreading along your arm. If you have long hair, be sure to keep it tied back and out of the way as well. The risk of finding a hair in your mashed potatoes isn't the biggest danger of having loose hair in the kitchen.
Make sure that you have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but don't make the mistake of storing it directly above the oven and range. If a fire starts, you may not be able to safely reach over it to grab the extinguisher. Instead, keep it on the counter, or put it a cabinet over or underneath the sink. That way it will be within easy and safe reach. Keep small children out of the kitchen – not only are they in more danger than you are, they could actually cause a fire by running through and knocking something over. It's fine to have the kids help with food prep and mixing, but set them up at the kitchen table or somewhere else away from the hot stuff.
Finally, make certain that you have your cell phone handy so that if a large fire breaks out, you can call 911 for help.
Put The Fire Out
All the preparation in the world can't help you if you freeze when confronted with an actual fire. Reviewing some tips for putting fires out can ensure that you're ready with a response when the time comes.
Fires that start in pots or pans on the range can usually be stopped by smothering them with the pot lid. Slide the lid over the pan first to smother the flames, then turn the burner off and let it cool. You'll want to move quickly, because a range fire can jump from burner to burner quickly. If a fire starts inside of the oven, don't open the door, or close it quickly if you already have it open. This should keep the fire contained and reduce the risk of spreading. Unplug the oven if you can safely reach the plug, or flip the circuit breaker to shut the power off at its source.
Remember that water won't help a grease or electrical fire – your first instinct to throw water on the flames may do more harm than good. You can smother a grease fire with baking soda, but having a fire extinguisher that's rated for a few different types of fires is a better and safer option. Also, don't hesitate to call 911 if you can't put the fire out immediately. Trying to fight the fire yourself is a good way to end up with an injury. If smothering the fire or using the fire extinguisher doesn't work, call emergency services and evacuate everyone from the house.
You don't want to spend your holiday at the hospital or staring at a pile of smoke and ash where your house used to be. By taking steps to prevent fires, preparing for the chance that a fire starts, and knowing the rules so that you can react quickly if you see flames, you'll be able to ensure a safe and injury-free Thanksgiving. For more tips, contact a company like Tri County Fire Protection.