Holiday Cooking Safety Tips!
Holiday or not, it’s always a good time to review safe cooking tips! I don’t care if you’ve been cooking your entire life or you can't cook anything other than toast. Safety in the kitchen is of the utmost importance and could save lives! So let’s take just a few minutes to go over just a handful of tips to ensure safe holiday cooking in your kitchen.
1. Stay in the kitchen! More often then not, fires occur from people leaving food on the stove unattended. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove and take your pots and pans off the heat. This is equally important if you are broiling food in the oven – take the food out of the oven and turn off the broiler.
2. Watch your clothing! Long, flowing sleeves, large-fitting shirts and even aprons can catch fire. It might be wise to roll up those long sleeves, tuck in baggy shirts, or wear a wear a well-fitted apron.
3. Be aware of the items around the stovetop! Watch those pretty holiday towels, oven mitts, cords, even curtains. They can easily catch fire if set near a hot burner. Move flammable items away from your stovetop.
4. Turn pot handles in! Handles hanging over the edge of the stove are a major hazard as they are easily bumped, spilling the contents of the pot or pan and potentially causing burns or fire. Turning the handles toward the back or side is always a good idea!
5. Keep children out of the kitchen and away from the stovetop! Make it rule that they must stay away from the cooking area or any area where hot food and drink is being prepared.
6. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen! (I’d be willing to bet most of you reading this don’t own one. Get one!) In the event of a fire, an extinguisher can make the difference between an easy to clean up burned pan and a kitchen engulfed in flames. Be sure you actually know how to use it, too. Also, don’t use water to put out a fire. That could make it worse! Have on hand a box of baking soda!
7. Change the batteries in your smoke detector! (Don’t have one? Get a few now!) Chances are you have a smoke detector in the kitchen or in the room adjacent to the kitchen. And it’s not enough to just have a smoke detector. Be sure yours is working at all times! Changing the batteries with the time change twice a year is easy to remember and a good habit.
8. Watch those candles! We all love our fragrant holiday candles, especially this time of the year. But know this… candles are a very common cause of house fires. Play it safe by putting them out when you leave or are unable to attend to them. Keep them away from children too!
9. Have a fire escape plan! Have your local fire department telephone number written and/or programmed on your telephone. Have a family discussion about what to do if there is a fire. Walk them through your plan of escape, which includes getting out of the house and meeting outside in a designated area. It’s important that your family – especially your kids – know what to do before a fire occurs. Practice your plan at least quarterly!
10. Stop, drop, roll! We’ve all heard this since we were kids… but do your kids know it? In the event you do catch fire, follow the Stop, Drop, Roll Principal. Don’t run if your clothing catches fire – stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll! Have your children practice this too!
Here’s a short video from National Fire Protection Association: NFPA Safety Tips - Cooking Safety
You can also visit their website by clicking NFPA SAFETY TIPS to view and print extensive safety information.
These tips by no means exhausts this topic of fire safety in the home. Having these conversations with your family will spark (no pun intended!) even more dialogue and create good habits for safety in the entire home. That being said, we at Eaton Insurance Services wish all of you a very happy and safe holiday! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!