Cooking up hazards

  • Published
  • By Airman Jamie Neppl
  • 82nd Training Wing Safety Office
The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends and to give thanks for our good fortune. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a time when mishaps can and often do occur.

Careless cooking fires are one of the leading causes of household fires in the United States. Three in every 10 reportable home fires start in the kitchen ... more than any other place in the home. These fires are caused by unattended cooking and human error, not mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 96,200 home structure fires were associated with cooking equipment. These fires killed 331 people, injured 4,183 others and caused $511.3 million in direct property damage.

Before you start cooking for your holiday guests, you can follow a few simple steps to make sure you are prepared for a safe dinner:

· Have a small fire extinguisher and a first aid kit readily accessible. Also make sure that smoke detectors are placed throughout your house.

· Before cooking, roll up your sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.

· Keep appliance cords as short as possible to avoid accidents such as tripping or knocking the appliance over.

· Keep things that can burn, such as dish towels, paper, plastic bags and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.

· Avoid leaving food that is cooking unattended for a long period of time, if at all. If using a timer, have it with you at all times to remind you that you have something brewing in the kitchen.

· Always turn pot handles inward to prevent small children from reaching and pulling down a hot pan.

· Do not put knives or other sharp objects into a full sink. Someone could reach in and accidentally get hurt.

Being aware of hazards around you in the kitchen could prevent future mishaps from occurring in your home.

The winter holidays are a time for celebration; if you are thinking safety you don't have to worry about fires and accidents.