Keep Your Family Safe From Kitchen Fires

Submitted by Pat Gifford, Trauma Outreach and Prevention Coordinator, Hamot

Thanksgiving is the time of year when family and friends gather together to enjoy a tasty meal and to celebrate the good things in our lives. Don’t let a dangerous kitchen fire spoil such a happy occasion!

Did you know that cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States? On average, there are almost three times more cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day. Moreover, Thanksgiving Day fires in residential structures cause more property damage and claim more lives than residential structure fires on other days. Follow some simple safety tips to protect your family and your home.

Preventing cooking fires

  • Never leave hot food or appliances unattended while cooking.
  • Always be alert when you are cooking and not under the influence of medication or alcohol.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire at least 3 feet from the stove, toaster oven, or other heat source.
  • Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothes that can catch fire if you stand too close to a burner.
  • If you are frying, grilling or broiling food stay in the kitchen. If you are baking or simmering check food frequently.

Preventing burns and scalds

  • To prevent hot food or liquid spills, use the stove’s back burner and/or turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
  • All appliance cords should be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
  • Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food.
  • Open containers that have been in the microwave slowly and away from the face.
  • Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.

Keeping Kids Safe

  • Create a 3 foot Kid Free Zone around the stove.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
  • Young children should be more than 3 feet from any place where there is hot food, drinks, pans, or trays.
  • Hot items should be kept from the edge of counters and tables.
  • Do not use a tablecloth or placemat if very young children are in the home.
  • When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely and always with help from an adult.