Property Managers: 6 Ways to Avoid Kitchen Fires

Six Ways to Avoid Kitchen Fires

In association with National Fire Prevention month, Property Management Insider is featuring a series of fire awareness and prevention articles.

A dicey economy and interest in a bounty of television cooking shows have armchair chefs around the globe fondue-ing and flambé-ing from the comforts of their own kitchen. But that open flame under the saucepan is a reminder that most home fires start in the kitchen.

Increased cooking in apartment units and around the clubhouse can be especially daunting for property managers. But by passing along to your residents some simple and important rules offered by the American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association, cooking and kitchen fires can be avoided.

Stay in the Kitchen

Don’t forget about that boiling pot of gumbo. People will put something on the stove, walk away, and forget it. The pot boils over, oily or greasy liquid hits the heat source, and you have a big problem. It’s easy to get distracted, but keep close tabs on anything that’s in the oven or on the stove. This includes the microwave. If something catches on fire in the microwave, leave the door closed and turn off the microwave. Thus you are eliminating the source of heat and smothering the oxygen supply.

Be Alert

If you’re sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop. Use a microwave to prepare hot meals or order in your favorite food.

Be Tidy

A pot holder or dish towel that’s right next to the heating element or open flame can spell disaster. Keep all materials, including plastic ware and packaging, away from the heat. A greasy plastic or wooden spoon can get hot enough to ignite.

Use a Timer

Regularly check food that is simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling. And use a timer as a reminder that food is cooking. Periodically check timers to make sure they are working.

Beware of Grease

A lot of people have heard the fallacy that you can smother a grease fire by spreading baking soda or flour over it. Not true! The only way to smother a grease fire is to put a lid on the pan, thereby cutting off the oxygen to the fire, then turn off the heat source. If flames continue to come around the sides of the lid, the fire is too big and you should evacuate the home immediately and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number for the fire department. As a general rule, keep a lid nearby to contain small grease fires.

Dress the Part

Ever notice that a chef’s cooking smock usually has shortened, tapered sleeves? This is so clothing won’t dangle next to a heat source and potentially catch on fire. Avoid wearing long sleeves or baggy clothing while cooking.

If you do have a fire and your efforts to extinguish it are failing, get out of the kitchen and close the door behind you to contain the fire. Have everyone leave the house, then call 9-1-1 or your local emergency fire response team.

Here’s to happy and safe cooking!

 


Community Disaster Education Program Coordinator
American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter

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Caren Bedsworth is the community disaster education program coordinator for the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross, which serves Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln, and Nye Counties. Caren has been with the Red Cross since 1999, educating communities in disaster preparedness. She has been a CPR & First Aid instructor for humans and pets, first aid station leader, and disaster training instructor. She also served on disaster relief assignments to assist victims of hurricanes in Alabama and Florida and wildfires in Arizona.

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