This post was sponsored by Kidde Fire Safety as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As a foodie and rather rambunctious home cook, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. A lot of thought goes into the different tools, devices, gadgets, knives, pots, and pans, and well, you get the idea. One of the common associations between kitchens and safety is knives. However, there is something much more dangerous to your kitchen than a falling knife or dull blade. Fire.
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Fire safety is an underrated, rarely thought about topic and one which any home cook should be prepared for.
October is National Fire Prevention Month, so I’m hoping this fire safety guide for the kitchen will light a fire under your feet and ensure your kitchen is protected.
Disclosure: The folks over at Kidde (you know, with the fire extinguishers and smoke alarms) hate burned food almost as much as I do, so they sponsored this entire article. You can find Kidde products in store at Walmart, The Home Depot, or Menards.
Check out the Kidde Fire Safety Protect Every Moment page for information on all of the different products available.
The History of National Fire Prevention Month
The outreach and education ideas surrounding National Fire Prevention Month first began around the time of the Great Chicago Fire in October of 1871. The three day fire killed more than 250 people and left another 100,000 without homes. Over 2000 acres and 17,400 structures were destroyed.
The first official National Fire Prevention Day, on October 9th, was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, noting that over 15,000 lives were lost to fire that year.
In 2000, the National Fire Protection Association extended Fire Prevention Week to include the entire month of October. The overarching goal is to include public libraries, schools, utility companies, and blogs like this one to spread the word about fire safety and prevention as well as overall personal safety.
Fire Safety in the Kitchen
The most common type of fire at home is a kitchen fire – which is usually grease. They can quickly grow out of hand and have catastrophic effects. The worst thing you can do with a grease fire is add water, which unfortunately is an initial instinct for many people when faced with a high stress situation.
The best way to put out a grease fire is to don your oven mitts and slide a lid which is not made of glass over the fire and turn off all heating elements. If you have a glass lid or cannot cover the fire, grab your Kidde Kitchen Extinguisher and discharge quickly.
Reports cite that these grease fires start either when a frying pan has been left unattended on the stove or when a pan has been overheated.
The NFPA reports that Thanksgiving is the peak day when most kitchen fires occur, followed by December 24th and 25th. Two-thirds of these peak fires occur from the ignition of food, which includes grease fires.
Here are some things to keep in your awareness when cooking in the kitchen to help prevent kitchen fires and improve your own fire safety habits.
- Be aware of flammable objects near flames, your stove, or oven, or other heat appliance. From hand towels, paper napkins, food packaging, cookbooks, and even wood utensils can also serve as fire starting material.
- Respect the oil. Don’t deep fry in a pot – use a thermostatically-controlled deep-fryer instead. When pan frying, only use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan – food should not be submerged.
- Don’t set your cooking temperatures too high. Often people misjudge cooking time and turn up the heat, which can quickly cause food to ignite.
- Stay in the kitchen. Don’t walk away or leave the room when there is an open flame or heating element operating in the kitchen. Your other chores and tasks can wait. Don’t get caught up with what the TV is playing in the background.
- Old temperamental appliances. If you’re making do with an appliance that isn’t in perfect working condition, its time to inspect, repair, or replace. The general rule is if the repair costs more than fifty percent of a new unit, you should replace it.
- Kitchen fashion. Loose fitting clothes are a big no-no. It doesn’t take much to start burning oversized sleeves, drawstrings, or even loose hair. If wearing an apron, keep the strings fastened at your back.
- Cooking while drunk or tired. Much like driving a car, when cooking while drunk or tired, your cognitive functions are impaired and you are much more likely to exercise less caution around the kitchen.
- Too many people in the kitchen. Having too many people in close quarters is a good way to get squished into a frying pan or flammable object pushed closer to a flame.
- Keep the correct type of fire extinguisher nearby. Kidde makes a model called Kitchen Fire Extinguisher RESSP. This model meets NFPA 10 standards and is UL Listed to 711A and Class B and C. This means it is made for the home kitchen. The 10 refers to square footage, which covers standard home appliances. Class B is for flammable liquid and gas fires such as cooking oil. Class C is for fires which involve electrical equipment.
- Install a combo smoke / carbon monoxide alarm in your kitchen. The smoke is for, well, you know. The carbon monoxide is an often missed feature, especially for those of you with gas appliances. As of writing this article, I upgraded to the Kidde Interconnectable models. The units link up through my WiFi and can communicate through whatever room in the house I am in. When there is a fire or gas leak, I can be alerted immediately by both alarm and voice warnings. Its sensor can detect the difference between food cooking and real fires, which is an added bonus to reduce nuisance alarms.
How many of these do you already know and practice? If you do all of them, let me know in the comments below so I can give you one oven-mitt covered high five! If not, I beg of you to take this seriously and read the tips again.
If you want to learn more about home safety, my post, Home Maintenance Checklist, is a great jumping-off point.