Stand By Your Pan. 9 Tips for Safe Holiday Cooking

kitchen fire restorationAccording to a report issued in April by the National Fire Protection Association, kitchen fires caused 43% of home fires between 2007 and 2011, 38% of the injuries to civilians from fire and 16% of the fire-related fatalities. The majority of these fires started on the stove in unattended pans. The NFPA has also found homeowners are 70% more likely to be injured trying to fight a kitchen fire than other types of residential fires. Fortunately, staying safe in the kitchen simple. Here are 9 tips:
  1. First, protect yourself. Only 1% of kitchen fires begin when clothing catches fire, but those fires accounted for 16% of kitchen fire fatalities. Wear an apron (which will keep loose clothing against the body) and /or close fitting clothing with short or rolled-up sleeves.
  2. Don't leave anything cooking unattended. This is especially important if you're frying, grilling, or broiling. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn the burner off.
  3. Keep an eye on what you're cooking. Even if you're sure there is no danger of fire (such as with boiling or slow cooking), check it regularly. Set a timer as a reminder if necessary. No matter what you're cooking, shut your burner off immediately if you see smoke or if frying grease is starting to boil.
  4. Always turn pot handles rearward so they can't be jarred, flipped or tipped.
  5. Even if your recipe doesn't call for the pan to be covered, keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby. If fire flares up in the pan you can use this to smother it quickly.
  6. Make sure there aren't any flammable objects near your stove. Be vigilant about this: A careless move can put a flammable item into the burner, causing a quickly deteriorating situation. Dishtowels, paper towels, potholders, oven mitts, food packages, freezer bags, grocery bags and wooden utensils should all be kept away. Keep in mind that some hard plastics ignite easily; so be careful with plastic containers. If in doubt, move it out!
  7. When moving a pot, avoid using dishtowels. A stray piece of towel can easily come into contact with the burner flame. Use potholders or oven mitts instead.
  8. Check the location of flammable items away from the stove as well. If you usually hang dishtowels on the handle of your oven, remove them while cooking. If your paper towel dispenser is located close to cooking equipment (such as a toaster oven) find a new place for it.
  9. Make sure your kitchen extinguisher is an ABC type, is fully charged and you're clear on the proper way to use it.

What if a fire starts?

The best way to handle a kitchen fire will depend on how and where it starts. For grease fires, the most important thing is to never use water. This will only displace flaming grease. Instead, take that pan lid you're keeping handy and smother it. If that's not possible, pouring baking soda on the flames will have the same effect. If fire starts in an oven, close the door, turn it off and unplug it if you can safely do so; the fire will probably die from lack of oxygen in a few moments. If it doesn't, call 911 immediately. In any case, don't use the oven again until it's been checked out and repaired or replaced. Other fire types—especially electrical fires—are best put out with your fire extinguisher. Even if you put out an electrical fire yourself, contact the fire department so they can ensure your kitchen is safe. And of course, if in doubt, clear out and call the fire department. By following these tips, you can be sure there won't be any fire damage involved in your holiday, just the warmth of family memories and traditions. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


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