GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – With the Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. order signed by Governor Whitmer, many restaurants are closed or are only offering take-out service. This has resulted in more people staying at home and cooking for themselves and their family. So it’s a good time to remember that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries and E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety wants to make sure a cooking fire doesn’t occur in your kitchen!
Did you know 60% of home fires begin in the kitchen? Frying is a leading cause of kitchen fires. The good news…these fires can be prevented!
Here are some simple steps to keep you and your family safe:
- Stand By Your Pan when cooking, grilling, boiling, broiling or frying. Don’t leave the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
- Keep The Cooktop Clear of Flammables. Remove cutter around the stovetop area. Never store items on top of the stove or inside the oven. Keep oven mitts, dish cloths and papers clear of the cooking surface.
- Avoid Wearing Loose Clothing. Tie back long hair and avoid wearing clothing with long, flowing sleeves like a bathrobe or other loose fitting clothing like an apron which could come in contact with a hot burner or open flame and catch fire.
- Put A Lid On It. Keep a lid nearby to slide over a small grease fire and keep it on until the pan is cool. Turn off the heat source and NEVER put water on a grease fire.
- Avoid Cooking If You Are Sleepy or Have Consumed Alcohol.
- Use Back Burners and Turn Pot Handles Away From Curious Hands. Remember to use back burners first and turn pot and pan handles in and toward the side or back of the cooktop. Young children are curious and many have grabbed a hot pan and pulled the hot contents on themselves causing a critical burn.
- Maintain A 3-Foot Child-Free Zone. Keep young children at least 3-feet away from a hot cooktop, oven, microwave or hot foods.
- Kids In The Kitchen. Children ages 8 and younger can help in the kitchen, but only with activities that don’t involve heat or knives. Children ages 9-13 can learn to use appliances like the microwave, turn burners on and off and set the oven temperature when a responsible adult is present. By age 14, most children should be able to use the oven, cooktop and microwave without adult supervision.
- Maintain Smoke Alarms and Practice Your Escape Plan. Install and maintain smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home including the basement. Install smoke alarms at least 10-feet from the kitchen to avoid nuisance alarms.
- Secure Lighters and Matches. Each year, children start many fires. About half of those fires are started with lighters and matches. Lighters and matches are tools for adults, not toys for children. Secure lighters and matches out of reach in a high cabinet, preferably a locked one.
If a fire does occur in your home, get everyone outside, go to a pre-designated meeting place (a tree in the front yard, neighbors house or your driveway), call 911 and request assistance from your local fire department. These tips will help you and your family to stay safe while you remain home Where You Live!
Article by Firefighter Michael McLeieer – E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety