How to prevent a kitchen fire in your home

fire protection

Cooking at home saves money, allows you to enjoy food exactly how you want it and may even be one of your favourite activities. Unfortunately, cooking is also the leading cause of reported home fires and injuries caused by home fires between 2015 and 2019. Kitchen fires caused about 20% of fire deaths in homes. Follow these important tips on how to prevent a kitchen fire in your home.

Stay Alert

When you start cooking a meal, stay in the kitchen. Multitasking in other rooms while frying, grilling, broiling or sauteing food could lead to a fire. When baking or roasting in the oven, use a timer, and check the food regularly. Avoid cooking when you’re tired or after consuming alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy.

Use Caution with Cooking Oil

Always stay in the kitchen the whole time you’re cooking with oil. Heat the oil slowly. Gently add food to the hot oil. Make sure there’s enough room in the pan to accommodate bubbling and splashes. Keep the lid of the pan on the countertop next to the cooktop or oven. Be aware of any faint burning odours. If you smell a burning scent, turn off the burner, and cover the pan. If you see smoke, turn off the heat, and cover the pan. Keep the lid on the pan until the pan is cool to the touch. Smoke is a sign that the oil is too hot, and a fire could start. 

Keep Combustibles Away

Keep dish towels, oven mitts, trivets, plastic and wooden utensils, placemats, and other common kitchen items away from the cooktop and oven. After unwrapping a package of food, dispose of the packaging in the trash. Plastic quickly melts and may catch fire if you leave it on or near the oven or stovetop. Regularly clean the burners, drip pan and oven. Avoid storing items inside, on or under your oven. When cooking, roll up long sleeves, and keep long hair pulled back.

Know How to Put Out a Kitchen Fire

Not all kitchen fires are the same. If you pour water on a grease or oil fire, it will spread and intensify quickly. Because most kitchen fires involve oil, you need to know how to put out this type of fire. The fire needs to be starved of oxygen. Your first line of defence is the pan’s lid if it’s just started smoking. If a fire starts inside of your oven, turn off the heat, and keep the door closed. Opening the door provides more oxygen to the fire.

Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

A fire blanket is the safest way to put out a kitchen fire, involving cooking fats and oils, that can’t be smothered with a pan lid. If the fire doesn’t involve cooking fats and oils and is already too big for you to approach or contain it with a pan lid or fire blanket, then a working fire extinguisher should be used. These devices have an expiration date, so you’ll need to check yours regularly to make sure that it hasn’t expired. You’ll also need to know how to use it. Most extinguishers have a pin or trigger to pull. You aim the nozzle at the fire while standing several feet away. Using the extinguisher reduces your risk of burns. It also gives you and other members of your household more time to evacuate. Most common fire extinguishers don’t work on fires that involve cooking fats, grease, and oil. After you’ve depleted the extinguisher’s fire retardant, you’ll need to have it professionally recharged or replaced. Store the extinguisher away from the oven but within six to ten feet so that you can quickly grab it when you need it.