Smoke billowed through the door of our apartment one night as I put jammies on my toddler. My husband, summoned to a kitchen fire in the apartment below us, failed to shut the door completely. My heart skipped a beat at the sight and smell of that gray smoke. This was serious! I called 911 and took my toddler outside.A $10 fire extinguisher can save $1000s in loss and damages.
If you have an extinguisher, check the pressure gauge to ensure it will work when you need it.
Learn how to use the extinguisher. You don't want to have to read directions when the fire's ablaze.
Keep curtains, towels, pot holders, etc. away from heat sources.
Tie back your hair.
Don't wear loose sleeves/clothing while cooking.
Avoid using hot pads with rings or towels to remove hot pans from the oven or stove. (I've started at least 3 minor fires in my oven by ignoring this tip! I hope I've learned by now!)
Keep your range and surrounding areas clean. Grease buildup on the wall behind the range and under the hood feeds a fire once it starts.
Turn pan handles in away from the edge of the stovetop where they won't be knocked by arms and elbows and tipped off the stove.
Memorize or post emergency numbers in accessible places.
Stop, Drop, and Roll.
What was supposed to be a fun sleep-over for the two teenagers in apartment #1, turned into a frightening experience. The girls, home alone, decided to fry some won-tons for a late-night snack. They used canola oil, which can catch fire far too easily. When the flames engulfed the pan, they tried to get their fire extinguisher to work. However, it was old and out of pressure. That's when they knocked on our door.
With the extinguisher we purchased only 2 months before, my husband put out the flames, which reached to the hood. The fire department evacuated the building and cleared out the massive wall of smoke. The next week, contractors came in to repair and repaint!
Have you thought about fire safety lately? Have you talked to your kids about what to do if something catches fire while cooking?
Here's some points to keep in mind and to pass along:
When cooking with grease,
Stay at your post. Don't leave heating oil unattended.
Heat oil slowly.
Keep the pan lid close by to smother a small fire before it's out of control. Turn off the heat and leave the covered pan alone for at least 30 minutes.
Leave the pan alone. Don't try to carry it to the sink or outside.
Don't throw water on a grease fire.
Baking soda (not powder) extinguishes flames.
Avoid deep frying in canola oil; try safflower, sunflower, or peanut oil instead.
Appliance Fire Safety
Don't overload electrical outlets with small appliances.
Close the microwave oven door if a fire starts, unplug, and don't use again until serviced.
Close the oven door if a fire starts inside.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *