• By Albert Depew

Cooking Safety

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Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Never leave cooking unattended. If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the burner.

Good Cooking Advice

Cooking is the number one cause of home fires in the United States. The leading cause of home cooking fires and injuries is unattended cooking.

Cooking Safely Prevents Fires

Always keep an eye on food being heated. If you leave the kitchen - turn off the heat! Good cooking tip: If the phone rings or something else requires you to leave the kitchen momentarily when cooking, take a pot holder or wooden spoon with you as a reminder to get back to the kitchen quickly.

  • Keep young children away from appliances when cooking. If you allow older children to cook, supervise them closely and teach them safe cooking practices.

Good cooking tip: Enforce a three foot kid-free-zone around the range and teach youngsters not to play in that area.

  • Dress appropriately for cooking. Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking and use caution when working near heat sources.

Good Cooking Tip: Try not to reach or lean over the stove. You can avoid this by not storing items you use directly over or behind the stovetop.

  • Provide plenty of quality, fire resistant pot holders and oven mitts for the cooks in your household.
  • Good Cooking Tip: Select heavy, fire retardant oven mitts that nearly reach the elbow to protect your entire forearm from heat.
  • Turn handles inward so pots and pans won’t be pulled or knocked off the stove.
  • Keep the stove-top clean and clear. Store things that can catch fire, like pot holders or wooden utensils, away from heat sources.

Good Cooking Tip: Keep food or grease form building up by cleaning often.

  • Monitor hot oil carefully and heat it slowly, keeping the pan lid close at hand. Guard against splattering grease. Know what to do in case a grease fire occurs.
  • Use caution with electrical appliances. Plug one appliance into an outlet at a time. Have appliances with frayed or cracked cords repaired before using. Never stand in or near water when using electrical appliances.

Good Cooking Tip: Un-plug countertop appliances when not in use.

  • Always have pot holders and lids at the ready when cooking. You may need them if you experience a small pan fire.

What to Do If You Have a Fire

  • If a pan fire starts on the stove-top, carefully slide a lid or large pan over the fire and then turn off the burner. Never pour water on a grease fire because splashed grease can ignite combustibles in your kitchen, spreading the fire.
  • Don’t try to carry a pan that’s on fire outside or to the sink. This is extremely dangerous because it can easily ignite your clothing or other combustibles you may pass with the pan.
  • If a pan fire starts inside the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to suffocate the flames. If a fire starts inside your microwave, keep the door shut, push the "stop" switch, and unplug the unit. Keep the door closed until the fire is out. Call the fire department if the fire does not go out immediately.
  • f your clothing catches fire, do not run, Stop, drop to the ground and roll over and over until the flames are smothered.
  • If you keep fire extinguishers on hand and plan to use them in the event of a fire. be sure you know what type to buy and how to use them properly. Ask your fire department for information on what to buy and training in their use.
  • Cool a burn: If you experience a burn while cooking that does not break the skin, run cool water over the skin for 10 - 15 minutes. Do not place butter or other ointment on the burn as this keeps the heat in and could further damage the skin. Severe burns, including burns that break the skin, should be treated by a physician.

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