Prevention and Extinguishing of Cooking Fires
The holiday season is fast approaching — which typically means gathering with family, friends, and lots of food. According to CBS News, cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires. Don’t be a “turkey” this Thanksgiving — be prepared to respond should a fire emergency occur.
According to the NFPA, kitchen fires caused nearly $1 Billion in property damage and 44% of reported home fires in 2010. Follow these simple tips to avoid cooking fires and combat them should you face one.
Pay attention while you cook. Cooking fires can start in mere seconds, so it is important to remain focused on the task at hand when preparing holiday meals. Stay in the kitchen while you cook. If you need to leave for any reason, turn the stove off. Set timers so you don’t forget that you are cooking.
Keep flammable objects away from the heat source. Do not put oven mitts, aprons, paper towels, or other items that could catch fire near open flames or hot surfaces. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing that could dangle into contact with the heat source and ignite.
Remove the heat source and contain the fire. If a small fire does occur and you can safely contain it, simply put a lid on the pan and turn off the heat source. Do not attempt to remove a burning pan from your home — you could spread the fire through your home or severely burn yourself. Wait until the pan has completely cooled before attempting to remove it. If you have an oven fire, turn the oven off and keep the door closed.
If available, use a dry chemical fire extinguisher. Do not attempt to put water on a grease fire or use a water-based extinguisher — you will make the fire worse. If you attempt to fight the fire yourself, be sure that other occupants are evacuating your home and that you have a clear path of escape should you fail to extinguish the fire.
Exit your home and call 911. If you have any doubt that you can effectively extinguish the fire on your own, exit your home and alert the fire department.
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