I have a relative who’s not only lucky (or blessed) to be alive but fortunate that she didn’t kill her child in the process. How did it happen? She put a pan of oil to heat on the stove and went to throw a load of laundry in the washer while it heated up. Problem was that she forgot about it till the kitchen was engulfed in flames. The baby was sleeping upstairs.
They got out safely but the kitchen was seriously burned and the rest of the house suffered smoke damage. The whole house could have burned to the ground and lives been lost.
Truth is that cooking safety is an aspect that most people don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about but they should. It is the leading cause of fire injuries and fire injuries are the 5th most common cause of accidental death in the USA.
Here are a few tips concerning kitchen and cooking safety.
- Never, ever leave cooking food unattended. Don’t allow that voice that says “go ahead, you’ll remember! It’ll just take a second” to talk you into leaving something on the stove while you run out of the room.
- Keep an eye, not only on the burner but on the area around the burners as well. Many kitchen fires are started when a dishcloth or a paper napkin accidentally comes in contact with the burner. Keep all flammable objects away from the cooking area.
- Cleanliness is not only next to Godliness, it’s also a good way to make sure you don’t go meet him (God that is) before your time. Grease and oil, build-up and splatters can easily catch fire and rapidly fuel the flames. It doesn’t take long for a fire to get out of control when there’s grease and oil present.
- While you’ve probably heard never to cook bacon naked (ouch!), you may not have heard that the clothing that you do wear needs to be tight fitting. Loose clothing can hang down and catch fire.
- Do not allow the handles of the pots and pans to hang over the front of the stove. There are two reasons for this. First of all, handles that are protruding can be grabbed by children and serious accidents can occur. Secondly, those same handles can be accidentally bumped causing hot food, grease, oil, boiling water, etc… to spill. Always make sure that the handles are turned inwards.
- Always make sure that you use adequate ventilation, especially when you are cooking with gas.
- If you’ve got a gas range, make sure that the burner has ignited before you start doing anything else. If the burner has not ignited gas can build up and cause an explosion.
Last but not least, use common sense. Stop and think before you start cooking. Anticipate potential problems and take appropriate action before they turn into accidents that might cause injury or death.
Oh, and if you need me to come check out your kitchen while you cook up that lobster in truffle butter, just give me a call! I’ll even let you know if the lobster is good!