One of the most common places for fires to occur in the home is in the kitchen. It’s probably no great surprise that this is the case, but there are many steps that can be taken to ensure that you are being as fire safety conscious as possible especially when cooking. In doing this, you can save yourself from the effects of disastrous consequences – be it property damage or much more serious – life.
The first step you should take in being vigilant, if this hasn’t already been implemented, is arranging a fire alarm installation. Choose a model which has a reset button so you can easily switch it off in case of a false alarm. Ensure you regularly check the batteries at least once a week to make sure they are working. This is an easy 5 second job that can save a fire from turning disastrous. Some experts also advise having smoke alarms fitted in the rooms immediately adjacent to your kitchen as well as an extra precaution.
Remain in the kitchen whilst you are cooking. If you need to leave for whatever reason, turn the cooker off and remove pots and pans from the heat. The most common kitchen fires occur when people leave things unattended.
When you are cooking, be aware of what you’re wearing. Loose flowing items like long sleeves and scarves can easily catch alight. In the unfortunate event that something you are wearing does catch fire, remember ‘stop, drop and roll’ – stop where you are, drop to the ground and roll.
It pays to be aware of what is around your cooker, make sure tea towels, kitchen paper, oven gloves and even curtains are a safe distance from the stove to ensure that nothing can accidentally catch fire. Regularly clean your oven top to reduce the build up of grease.
Having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen is also a good idea. The quicker you can deal with a fire that has started, the less damage it is likely to cause. Remember that if a fire starts in your kitchen, don’t use water to extinguish it. If the fire is in a pan, place a lid on the pan and turn the heat off. Leave the pan until it is completely cooled down. Don’t attempt to put the fire out by placing the pan in the sink. This could cause the fire to spread and puts you at further risk of injuring yourself.
If you have young children in the house, use the back burners rather than the front. Ensure the handles of pots and pans are turned to the back of the stove so that little hands can’t reach up and grab them. Teach your children about fire safety and to stay well back when you are cooking. The doors of ovens can become extremely hot, so making sure your children keep a safe distance from the cooker will help to prevent accidents.
Lastly, if in doubt, don’t hesitate, call the fire department. Don’t put yourself at risk by trying to put out a large fire if the safest option is to call 999. Make sure you have an escape route in place should the worst happen. Then make sure everyone is out of the house as quickly as possible – don’t go back in for any belongings and most importantly, try not to panic. If you can, close the door of the room where the fire has broken out and subsequently close all doors behind you as you leave the house. If you come across a closed door, touch it with the back of your hand. If it feels warm it is likely that a fire is behind it and it is not worth the risk. Ultimately, fire safety awareness is crucial and can seriously prevent fires from breaking out in the first place resulting in serious damage.
Featured image credit: Adam Grason