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Cooking Safety
Cooking brings families and friends together, provides an outlet for creativity, and can be relaxing. However, it’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fires resulting from cooking continue to be the most common type of fire experienced by U.S. households. Cooking fires are also one of the leading causes of home fire injuries.

Recent studies have concluded:
  • Cooking was tied for the third leading cause of all home fire deaths.
  • The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
  • Households using electric ranges have a higher risk of fires than those using gas ranges. Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
  • Three of every five (58%) reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but these incidents accounted 14% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.

    Cooking Safety Tips to Prevent Fires
  • Be alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen, don’t leave cooking food unattended (Stand by your pan!).
  • If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves. (Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles).
  • Don’t become distracted. The most common distractions are attending to children, answering phone calls, watching television, and answering doorbells.
  • Enforce a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around your stove. Turn pot handles inward facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, pot holders, curtains, food packaging, wooden utensils, or anything that could burn.
  • Cook at indicated temperatures settings rather than higher settings.
  • Clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.
  • Have a pot lid handy to smother a pan fire. Do not attempt to pick up the pot or pan. Shut off the heat and cover the fire with a lid. Do not use water. It will cause splashing and spread the fire.
  • Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

    If You Have A Cooking Fire
  • Get out, and close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 911 immediately after you leave. Do not delay—even for minor fires, and allow the fire department to make sure the fire is completely out.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • If you can safely reach the controls, turn off the heat, then slide a pan lid over the flames to smother a grease or oil fire. Leave the lid in place until the pan cools.
  • Never carry the pan outside. Never move the pan to the counter or sink.
  • Water and grease fires do not mix!
  • Baking soda may be used to extinguish a small fire, but never use water or flour.
  • For oven or broiler fires, keep the oven door shut. Turn off the heat.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Read and understand the directions before you need it.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

    MICROWAVE OVEN SAFETY

    Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires.
  • One in every six (18%) of microwave oven home structure fires cited appliance housing or casing as the item first ignited.
  • Nearly half (45%) of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2009 were scalds.
  • Thirty-one percent of the scald burns and 14% of all microwave oven related injuries were scald burns incurred by children under five years of age;

    Use Your Microwave Safely
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a microwave oven.
  • Plug the oven directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord because it may overload the circuit and cause a fire.
  • Use only microwave-safe cookware (containers or dishes).
  • Open micro-waved food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam escaping from a container or the food itself can cause burns.
  • Never use aluminum foil or metal objects in a microwave oven.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Have the oven checked and/or serviced before being used again.


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    RELATED LINKS



    Burn Prevention Foundation