According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking mishaps led to 170K house fires and 135 fatalities. Following best kitchen and cooking safety practices allows individuals to minimize the risk and incidence of a dangerous house fire.
October is National Fire Prevention Month, and the 2023 campaign focuses on empowering the public about cooking safety and the deadly and devastating outcomes of these preventable fires. Observing this important month, Wentzville Fire Protection District offers 10 cooking fire safety tips.
Keep a Class ABC Fire Extinguisher in the Kitchen
Always keep a Class ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of a fire. This special fire extinguisher is designed to extinguish the most common types of home fires (like grease fires). If the home doesn’t have a Class ABC, buy one!
Know How to Put Out a Grease Fire
Grease popping in a pan can land on a burner and ignite. Don’t panic! Instead, know how to extinguish a grease fire. The easiest solution is a fire extinguisher. However, covering the dish and suffocating the fire can help stop the flames. In addition, sprinkle baking soda or salt on the flames for a DIY extinguisher.
Use a Grease Pan
Place a grease pan beneath a dish to catch falling food, oil, and grease. These pans keep the oven from a food mess and can help prevent fires, too. Don’t have a grease pan? Just use a cookie sheet!
Turn Down the Heat
Sometimes, cooks need to let a stew or sauce simmer. Just remember to turn the heat down to ensure the pot doesn’t boil over and land on the burner. Set the stove burner to low heat and let the dish lightly simmer.
A Watched Pot…Doesn’t Ignite
Stepping away from the stove could lead to disaster. Don’t leave the house with a dish boiling on the stove. A watched pot doesn’t ignite. However, a neglected dish can lead to a house fire.
Turn off the Burner
Some kitchen fires result from a burner left on throughout the day. When cooking on the stove, get in the habit of always turning off the burners when the food is ready. Be mindful of the oven, too.
Leave Space Between Food and the Oven Heating Element
That massive turkey could be a fire hazard if it doesn’t fit into the oven properly. Always leave space between food and the oven heating element. Food that comes into contact with the element can ignite.
Be Mindful of Outlets
Watch the outlets carefully. Sometimes, kitchen fires begin with an electrical mishap. Regularly check outlets for issues, and don’t overload any outlet with power strips.
The Microwave Isn’t Harmless
While fires don’t tend to originate from a microwave, these small appliances can be the origin of a kitchen fire. Never place aluminum foil in the microwave; turn off the appliance immediately if sparks are seen.
Know When to Call 911
Not every kitchen fire can be extinguished quickly. If a fire starts to spread or feels out of control, dial 911 immediately. Don’t wait!
About the Author
Wentzville Fire District is one of the largest fire districts in St. Charles County, covering 88 square miles. The fire district is committed to serving and protecting our community through the highest quality of fire protection, prevention, education, and community outreach.