Can you guess what that hazard is? It’s a cooking fire. The fact is that your kitchen is the single most dangerous room in the house primarily because it’s where we combine heat and flammables in close proximity.
Most cooking fires occur within 15 minutes of having started cooking. The main culprit is people putting a pan on the stove with oil or something in it and walking away to do something else thinking they’ll be right back. Even if you think you’ve got a really great memory don’t risk it. It is too easy for something else to distract, for the task you went to do that was only supposed to take 10 seconds to turn into a 20 minute job. Think about it, how many times have you accidentally left the burner on? If something as simple as remembering to turn off the source of heat when cooking is done and you’re still right there is something that is easy to forget how much more something that is out of sight?
Another common source of kitchen fires are dish towels, rags or curtains that are too close to the burner and ignite. Those cute curtains that make your kitchen look so good flutter when a freeze blows in the window, that dish towel that you dropped on the counter to grab a bowl… if they get too close to the burner can ignite.
Safety tips to prevent cooking fires:
- Silence the “self-talk” that tells you that, even though this might be the #1 most dangerous thing you can do, you’ll remember about the pan on the stove because “it’ll only take a second!” I don’t care how good you think your memory is, are you willing to risk your families’ life and everything you own on the fact that it won’t somehow slip your mind?
- Never, ever leave anything on a burner in the kitchen if you aren’t there to keep an eye on it. Flash fires can happen even when you’re in the kitchen watching much less when you’re somewhere else in the house.
- Never, ever try to grab a pan with a grease fire in it. You might think to take it outside to get the smoke and flames away from your nice home but the odds are that, instead, you’ll drip fire all the way to the door and turn a manageable fire into a blaze that you cannot control.
- If a fire occurs in a pan on the burner, snuff it out by putting a lid on it. Fire without oxygen extinguishes. DO NOT pour water on it. Water will simply project the flames, sputtering all over.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and learn how to use it.
- Keep flammables (Kitchen rags, towels, dish cloths, curtains, etc…) at least three feet away from burners.