Holiday Cooking is a Leading Cause of Home Fires
Cooking related incidents, especially around the Holidays, are the leading cause of home fires, and in most cases, they are fully preventable. Cooking fires cause more injuries than any other kind of fire. Injuries usually consist of burns or smoke inhalation.
November and December are the two months of the year when most cooking fires occur largely because of the holiday season.
Following are some safety tips you should take into account as we approach this Holiday Season:
Cooking fires are usually caused by one of the following reasons:
1 Grease or food that catch fire.
2. Faulty cooking equipment.
3. Combustible items placed too closely to a stove.
Most of these incidents involve grease. When grease catches fires, it burns hot and fast. If it is not brought under control quickly, it spreads and causes extensive damage.
The easiest way to put out a cooking fire is to shut off the burner and place a pan lid over the pot to cut off the oxygen supply. Keep it covered until the pan cools. Taking the lid off too quickly may cause the fire to reignite. Throwing materials onto the pan such as salt, sugar, flour, baking soda or wet towels is too risky. This may spread the fire, which can lead to injury.
NEVER throw water on a grease fire.
The water will fall to the bottom of the pan, quickly convert to steam and push all the flaming liquid into the air, spreading the fire. This may also lead to serious burns on the person throwing the water on the fire.
If a fire extinguisher is available and the cook knows how to use it, they should attempt to put the fire out. Be sure to turn off the burner to remove the heat source before using the fire extinguisher.
Burning pans should never be moved.
It is tempting to pick up a pan on fire and place it in the sink or take it outside. This is not advisable as the pan is usually too hot to lift so when you grab it, you may drop it and cause the burning liquid to spread the fire.
Never leave food cooking on a stove unattended.
Food left cooking unattended on a stove is the leading cause of cooking fires. This is not the time to read emails, take a shower, check the mailbox or visit your neighbors. The results can be fatal. When food is cooking, even at a slow simmer, it may be easy to forget how long the food has been cooking, or that you even started cooking to begin with. This may lead to the food burning, causing smoke, which then leads to smoke inhalation and fire.
Maintain Cooking Equipment.
If a stove is having problems, it should be repaired as soon as the problem starts. Regular maintenance on the stove is a must. Keep combustible items away from the stove, and never on a stove, even when the stove is off.
Remove all pans from the stove and place in the sink, after cooking.
Never leave dirty pans on the stove. If someone accidentally brushes up against a knob and turns on the stove or forgets to shut off the burner, there is nothing to catch fire. Pets are also known to jump on stoves and lick pans when no one is around and in the process they may also turn on a burner.
If food catches fire in the oven, the oven should be shut off and the door kept closed. If you open the oven door, you introduce more oxygen and the fire spreads. If a fire extinguisher is available, try using it after shutting off the oven and closing the door until the fire is completely exterminated.
Children should never be near the stove when food is cooking. Create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around the stove. Place tape on the floor so children know the area to stay behind while food is cooking.
In the event of a cooking fire that cannot be controlled, leave the home and go to a safe meeting place outside and then call 9-1-1. Never attempt to go back inside the home once you have left.
Be sure to install, maintain and regularly check fire and smoke alarms. This way, if a fire occurs, you have adequate warning and know when to safely escape.
We hope these tips help you have a safe and Happy Holiday Season. Should you have any questions, need assistance, or encounter an emergency, please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of The East End at 631-653-9595. We are here to help 24/7 with any and all of your emergency restoration and cleaning needs.
At SERVPRO of The East End, we have been proudly serving our community for over 40 years and will continue to do so. Our trained IICRC technicians have the knowledge, training and expertise as well as state-of-the-art equipment to make it 'Like it never even happened'.