October 20, 2017

Fire Safety – Prevent Kitchen Fires

The San Mateo County Fire Department has some important safety tips for cooking during this busy holiday season.

How often has the doorbell rung or a child interrupted you while you were cooking, causing you to forget about the chicken you left sizzling on the stove – until smoke filled the house?  If this scenario or a similar one doesn’t sound familiar to you, you may want to think about it a little more because it’s likely that you, a friend, or family member has run the risk of having a dangerous fire.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The latest statistics from NFPA say that one out of every three home fires started in the kitchen and more than 100,000 fires a year were related to cooking.

Here are a few safety tips to remember:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food. If you must leave the the room even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (e.g. potholders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging).
  • Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. If in doubt, get out of the home and call 911.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner and slide the pan off the burner.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call 911.
  • If an oven fire starts, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. If the fire does not go out, get out of the home and call the fire department.
  • To avoid the accumulation of grease, always clean the vent screen above your stove. You can put these in the dishwasher! If you cook frequently with oils, butter, and grease, make sure to clean it at least once a month.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and learn how to use it.