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The kitchen is the heart of the home. One letter off the word “heart” and you get another important fact about this part of the house: it’s the heat hub. According to experts, the majority of fire incidents start in the kitchen. In fact, open flames from unattended stoves are one of the leading causes of tragic blazes putting out thousands of lives and properties.
With March as Fire Prevention Month, it’s the perfect time to bring back safety into the hearts of our homes. Here’s our top five tips for cooking safety:
Don’t Leave Your Stove Unattended
As mentioned, one of the common sources of fires is unattended stoves. If you think about it, it’s a problem that can be easily prevented. Put simply, mind the burner. If you have to go and get something somewhere, turn the range off. We know, it’s a bit of an effort to turn off and then turn it back on again, but if it’s for the safety of many lives, a little hassle surely won’t be too much, right?
Do take note that leaving stoves unattended isn’t just a reminder for when you’re going somewhere. You can be in the kitchen, yet your mind is completely elsewhere. More specifically, your hands and eyes may be busy scrolling through your social media profile. This equally puts you and your family in danger. As they say, “The little fire you leave may leave you little.” As a rule, always mind the stove when cooking.
Keep the Kitchen Counters Clean
Ordinary kitchen items, which aren’t dangerous themselves, can easily catch fire and be hazards. This includes food wrappers, pot holders, dish towels, and wooden chopping boards, to name a few. To reduce safety risks, store these items properly. Don’t keep them lying around near the oven or burners.
Another thing that you should keep an eye on when cleaning is the grease that spilled or splashed while you’re cooking. When grease builds up, they can catch fire. So make sure to clean your workstation every after meal preparation. The most effective way to remove grease is to use baking soda. Pour some of it on a damp sponge and then wipe the soiled surfaces. Use this as well when cleaning pots and pans. As for the grease in your pan, don’t dispose of it hot in the trash. Otherwise, it might cause a fire as it touches other stuff in the trash. Let it cool first and throw it in an old tin can.
Wear Proper Clothing
Yes, there’s such a thing as appropriate outfit when cooking. That is, anything but tops that have close-fitting sleeves and its stark opposite, loose, baggy clothes. The former would restrict your movements and keep you from responding fast to emergency situations. The latter, on the other hand, may come into contact with the flame and catch fire. As a principle, wear clothes that aren’t too tight or too loose — just right.
Kids could wander into the kitchen without you knowing, and they may encounter so many safety risks, from tipping hot soup to touching the playful flames from the burner. Keep the kitchen off-limits to children, especially when you’re cooking. Now, it’s easy to do this when your home has a door. But if you’re living in a typical condo or a house that has an open floor plan, it might be a little tricky.
One solution you might find helpful is installing a baby gate. There are some that go as far as three feet, so you can use them until your children are toddlers. Once they’re old enough to understand, teach them to stay away from the stove and hot food.
Have Fire Safety Equipment on Standby
First on that list is the extinguisher. It has to be in the kitchen at all times. Needless to say, you should know how to use it properly. If you can buy fire blankets, better. And if your home isn’t equipped yet with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, consider getting them to improve the safety and value of your home.
The kitchen can quickly become the site of tragic fire incidents if you’re not mindful of safety. Remember, simple steps can make a big difference in saving lives. Make the heart of the home a safer place.