Orleans EMO urges kitchen safety after recent fires

Posted 13 August 2020 at 9:25 am

‘Our kitchens don’t have to be a dangerous place. With a little patience and care, we can make sure that we are never the victims of a kitchen fire.’

Press Release, Orleans County Emergency Management Office

With a recent surge in kitchen fires in our area, now is a great time to remind people of some very important fire prevention/safety tips.

Kitchen fires are the most common fires that occur inside of structures in our country today. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 470 home cooking fires per day happen in the US. This results in 173,200 cooking fires annually.

However, there are ways to make cooking a safer and more pleasant activity.  Here are some safety tips that you can put into practice to ensure that you aren’t one of the many people who experience a kitchen fire:

  • Do not leave your stove/oven/microwave unattended! If you start to cook something, remain with it until you are finished cooking. (An unattended stove is the leading cause of all kitchen fires).
  • If pots or pans catch fire, do not move them! You could spread the fire or burn yourself.(Simply cover the pot or pan with a lid or cookie sheet and turn off the heat).
  • Never throw water on a grease fire! This could cause the fire to flare up and may help it to spread onto the ceiling or walls. (As mentioned above, covering the pot or pan and turning off the heat should work).
  • Don’t leave flammable items on the stove. (Keep potholders, towels, paper products and other flammable items away from any heat source).
  • Make sure that you can easily read your stove’s dials and knobs. This will help you to see if your stove is on or not.
  • Make sure you turn on the proper burner. Oftentimes, a person will put a pot on the stoveand turn the wrong burner on.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets with multiple appliances.
  • Plug appliances in only when you need them. Unplug them when they are not in use.
  • Keep pot handles pointed toward the back or inside of the stove to avoid being knocked off the stove.
  • Keep children away from the stove!
  • Wear snug clothing or short sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can get too close to a burner and catch fire. (If you do catch fire: stop, drop, and roll to put the fire out).
  • Do not put metal in the microwave oven.
  • Slowly remove lids from containers in microwave ovens after cooking. Steam inside containers can scald.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave, keep the door shut, unplug it, leave the house immediately, and go to a neighbor’s house (or use your cell phone from outside the house) and call 911.
  • If you have a self-cleaning oven, make sure you know how to use it. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Make sure everything is clear both inside and outside of the oven beforehand so that nothing can catch fire.
  • If you are come home tired at night, don’t use the stove. Many fires start when people put food on the stove and fall asleep while it is cooking.

If you find that you have a kitchen fire, get out of the house immediately and don’t return. You should have a fire escape plan complete with working smoke alarms, at least two ways out of every room in the house, and a meeting place outside in front of your house. Practice this plan and help your family members understand the importance of such a plan.

Call 911 from a neighbor’s house or your cell phone if you have it on you. Always pay attention when you are in the kitchen.

Our kitchens don’t have to be a dangerous place. With a little patience and care, we can make sure that we are never the victims of a kitchen fire.

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