Barbara Newell: Always stay on top of fire safety while working in the kitchen

Barbara Newell


Barbara Newell

Barbara Newell


Barbara Newell

The school year is coming to an end. Kids will most likely be home more than not, now that their relaxing days are here. The kitchen will be a busy place as the kids eat and snack their way through the day. Please take care and time to do a check of your home for fire safety. This should be done no matter what, but using the end of the school year is a perfect time to for the check-up.

Today let’s deal with the area of the home where most fires happen. If you guessed the kitchen, you are right. And cooking fires cause the most injuries. Take steps to help prevent cooking fires in the home.

Stay by the food as it is cooking. Turn the heat off if you need to leave the kitchen.

Children should be taught to stay away from the cooking area. Older children who are allowed to cook should be supervised and taught all safety rules.

Some clothing is not appropriate for cooking. Long sleeves are not a choice. Clothing should not be loose and sleeves should be short.

Handles of cookware should be pointed inward. Never allow the handles to hang over the edge of the cooking surface.

Do not store spices and such on top of the range. Reaching over to grab one of these is very dangerous. Potholders and wooden utensils should be away from the heat.

Clean the cooking area frequently. Eliminate any build up of grease and spillovers.

Cooking oils require constant attention. Use utensils to lower foods into the oil. Some foods will cause the oil to splatter. A lid close by will help shield you if the oil splashes. In case of a grease fire, quickly turn of the heat and put the lid on. Do not try to use water. Do not try to move the pan! If smothering does not work, leave the home and call the fire department.

Microwave fires can also happen. If you see a fire inside the unit, keep the door close to smoother the fire and unplug the unit. Do not use it again until it has been thoroughly inspected. Remember; never put metal materials in the microwave. The items will spark and will cause damage to the unit.

Use one kitchen appliance at a time and never plug more than one appliance into a single outlet. Any questionable cords should be repaired. If the appliances produce heat, keep them away from wall, curtains, potholder and such. Keep appliances away from any areas of water when in use.

In general, counter top appliances should be kept clean and in good working order. Inspect them from time to time and make the necessary repairs. Cords that area too long are a hazard.

Do not overfill pots and this will help eliminate a boil over. If a boil over happens, turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot. Always have a lid, hot pad and potholder handy just in case.

Use a burner that fits the size of the pan.

Keep an “ABC” dry chemical fire extinguisher close by. Keep all emergency numbers posted in clear sight in the kitchen. Numbers should include 911, poison control, police, fire and doctor.

Please check with your local fire department for information pamphlets on home fire safety. If you are unsure or have a question, ask.

Barbara Newell is a freelance writer and owner of Barbara Newell, Inc., Inspections, Consulting, Mold Testing and Home Watch. You can reach her at, or 495-7857.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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