It’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us, and with them comes the annual tradition of cooking and eating. Fire safety is always key during this time of the year. Whether you’re planning to use an outdoor grill or indoor stove, it’s important to be aware of safety precautions. Cooking fires are the second-leading cause of home fires in the United States. These fires result in an estimated 400 deaths, 1,500 injuries and $1 billion in property damage each year. There are some basic steps to take to minimize your chance of starting a fire while cooking this Thanksgiving: Keep children away from cooking areas.
- Teach children about fire safety around the stove top, ovens, ranges and other cooking equipment. Keep them at least three feet away from any area where you are cooking or baking.
- Use short extension cords wisely. Do not overload extension cords. Do not run extension cords under rugs or mats where people could trip over them.
- Never remove the ground pin from a three-prong plug unless it will be used in a non-grounded receptacle (like one for a table lamp).
- Turn off portable generators when they are not in use.
- Never leave candles unattended or near flammable objects like drapes or furniture.
- Clean your oven and stove before cooking. Do a thorough cleaning of any burners, grates, and heating elements to remove food debris and grease buildup. This includes the interior of the oven as well as the stovetop burners and oven racks. Remove any excessive grease from the surface of the range or grill using paper towels or a special degreasing cleaner, preferably before you preheat it for cooking.
- To avoid burns in the kitchen, don’t wear loose sleeves when lifting items out of pots or ovens. Also, be sure to keep children and pets away from the stove while preparing food. This includes curious dogs and cats. You may also want to keep an eye on children who like to climb on counters and cabinets. Another good idea is to keep oven mitts and potholders close by when using the stovetop or oven.