How to Prevent Kitchen Fires
Do you worry about leaving your stove on and coming home to your house engulfed in flames? Have you ever been face to face with a raging grease fire and didn’t know what to do?
Kitchen fires are a real and common danger when it comes to daily cooking and meal preparation. Whether that’s a grease fire caused by too high of heat, leaving your burners on after you finish cooking, or faulty hardware, making sure you understand basic fire safety is key to preventing kitchen fires.
This article provides you with the basics on how to prevent kitchen fires and keep both your home and family safe.
The first rule of cooking is to always stay in your kitchen while you have a fire or stove on. This helps to prevent overflow, heat regulation, and on-going inspection of your food.
Checking your food frequently helps to ensure that both your food is not burning, but that your pan or skillet is not overheating, preventing unwanted flare ups and potential fires.
Using a timer is another great way to prevent kitchen fires as it will automatically alert you when your cooking time is done. It also serves as a “reminder” to check your burners and turn off your stove at the end of your cooking session.
Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves to prevent potentially catching yourself on fire while cooking.
Keep everything flammable away from your stove. This includes pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging and towels.
Create a “kids free” zone when you are working in the kitchen to avoid your child from harm. Children are at the highest risk of being hurt when it comes to cooking and open flames.
Protect Your Kitchen
Once you have the basics on how to protect yourself when it comes to the kitchen, the next step is to protect your kitchen.
Cleaning your kitchen stove frequently helps to reduce the amount of grease buildup naturally accumulated during meal preparation. By reducing the amount of built up food and grime on your stove, you are helping to prevent a stove fire.
Buy a fire extinguisher! It’s that easy. Have a backup plan in case of a fire that gives you fast and reliable means to put the fire out quickly. Minimizing potential fire damage and personal injury.
Install and maintain fire alarms. It is reported that three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms. Consider installing a fire stop product that automatically puts out a fire in the case of an emergency. There are many types of stove top fire stop products that can easily be installed giving you the confidence you deserve when cooking.
Make a habit of checking your kitchen before going to bed or leaving the house to ensure all burners are turned off and the stove is not left unattended.
How to Put out a Stove Fire
It doesn’t matter what type of stove you use to cook your food. High levels of heat can ignite just about anything.
There are two basic types of stoves on the market; both of which can cause a fire.
Gas Stove Fires: Gas stoves require a constant source of gas to be flowing to the stove unit to provide cooking. If you find yourself with a gas stove fire, then the first course of action is to turn off the burner. If you are unable to quickly snuff out the flames, then it is highly recommended to vacate your home and call 911. Due to the ongoing source of gas traveling to your kitchen stove, the risk of explosion is a real threat.
Electric Stove Fires: Electric stoves use electricity to heat coils or surfaces. While there is no open flame to these types of stoves, the risk of a stove fire is still possible. If you find yourself with an electric stove fire, step one is the same, turn off the burner. If you are still unable to control the flame, then call 911. Obviously if the fire gets out of control, one should vacate the premises as well.
Common Foods that Cause Stove Fires
Regardless of your cooking expertise, there are certain foods that have an inherent way of catching on fire.
Garlic: Garlic: This potent food is packed with lots of natural oil, so it burns quickly and pops when placed in a hot pan, causing oil to splatter into the burner.
Bacon: Any protein product that has a high fat content like bacon releases grease as it’s cooking. When the meat burns, it causes the oil to splash out of the pan
Deep Fried Chicken: Another risky dish is deep fried chicken. Mostly because of the high heat demanded to fry the chicken in the pan. Popping oil can easily jump the pan and hit your burner, causing a burst flame.
Hamburgers: Similar to fried chicken, hamburgers cook out a majority of their grease content. To avoid potential hamburger grease fires, it’s recommended to use the leanest meat you can find, which reduces the amount of fat that will cook out during preparation.
Alcohol Based Sauces: It’s not uncommon for marsala, sherry and other alcohol-based sauces to flare up. Don’t underestimate the potential fire hazard of wine and cooking. If a bottle is too close to the stove it can heat up and cause serious damage.
While there are tons of ways to make your home and cooking habits safe, understanding that kitchen stop top fires are a risk is the first step. Having proper cooking methods, avoiding foods that are easily flammable, and having a fire stop method can protect both you and your home. You don’t have to be a fireman to prevent kitchen fires, but you do have to know what to do in order to prevent, prepare and handle a fire should one arise.