Grand Traverse Metro Fire Shares Kitchen Safety Tips
Cooking is the main cause of home fires and fire injuries. Anyone can prevent cooking fires by following some simple safety steps.
Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department sees at least one turkey fryer fire every Thanksgiving. Grand Traverse Metro Fire and Life Safety Educator, Jennifer Froehlich, has some advice on how to keep safe and not burn the bird.
“Thanksgiving is the number one day of residential kitchen fires in the United States,” says Froehlich. “Which is no surprise because everybody’s cooking and in the kitchen and also distracted.”
Having other people in the kitchen can be a distraction, and a hazard. Froehlich suggests watching and standing by what you’re cooking. Also, following the three feet rule.
“Three feet is a great rule of thumb,” says Froehlich. especially if you have kids or pets in the house. Keep them three feet from your kitchen area, your stove and the places where you have heat sources.”
It’s also important to turn pot and pan handles away, toward the back of the stove while cooking. Then no one can bump them causing fires or burns.
Frying a turkey can be equally dangerous as it is delicious. Avoid frying an unthawed bird and avoid combustibles to catch the grease. Also watching the temperature of the oil.
“Oil can overheat and get to the point of actually being the cause of the fire so we want to make sure that we’re heating that oil to the right, proper temperature,” says Froehlich.
When frying, keep at least ten feet from any buildings.
If you do have a fire, there’s a few steps you can take to keep everyone safe.
“Evacuate the house and call 911,” says Froehlich. “If this is something small that you feel like you have some control over, there’s some really easy things you can do. If the fire happens inside the microwave or the oven, turn off the heat source to that and leave it closed so it can’t get air.”
Keep a lid or a baking sheet close to the cooking stove in case there’s a stove top fire.
“The best thing to do is smother it,” says Froehlich. “If you’re able to put a lid on it or if you can’t get that close, sliding a baking sheet over top of it. You’re taking that oxygen source away.”
Fires can also be started by what you’re wearing. Avoid long sleeves while cooking over a stovetop.
“If you have scarves on or a robe, sometimes people will have a blanket over them, or maybe a towel around their shoulder, those are all things that when you’re reaching and cooking over a hot service can catch fire,” says Froehlich.
If there is a small fire, keep doors shut, smother the flame, if you can, and use a fire stop or fire extinguisher.
Fire stops and extinguishers can be holiday gifts that can also be installed by your local fire department.