On Saturday my family and I participated with Hope Worldwide in the Red Cross and HOPE Worldwide Martin Luther King Day Fire Safety and Disaster Prep Fair. During the day, we heard from Captain Anderson and Lieutenant Zitto from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY).
We learned a lot about kitchen fires, the number one cause of fires in NYC. Many of the fires are simply because someone burned dinner and it’s just smoke and cabinet damage. Sometime though it turns into a house fire and usually that is from unattended cooking.
One tip that was shared is that when cooking you have to remember not to forget. You can do that by having a routine. Put something on to remind you that you’re cooking. That way, you have that visual reminder when you get busy. Aprons or wooden spoons in your back pocket are a couple of options. You can also set a timer (i.e. on your smart phone) to remind you that you have something cooking.
If you do have a kitchen fire, touch the fire as little as possible. For instance don’t panic if you’re cooking something on top of the oven and the oil catches fire. Don’t try to take the pan with the burning oil off the oven because often the burning oil will splatter. When that happens, the burning oil can get under appliances or somewhere else with electricity…making a bad situation worse. Rather, turn off the heat source put a cover over the pan and let the fire burn out. You can also use baking soda because it has the same exact chemical (sodium bicarbonate) as fire extinguishers use.
Sometimes, the fire is inside the oven. If plastic or something else starts to burn inside, leave the heat and fire in the oven. Don’t open the oven door. Rather, leave it closed; turn off the heat source and let it burn out. If you feel that the fire has spread to beneath the oven or behind it into the walls, don’t try to pull the oven away from the wall and check. When in doubt, call 911 and get out…shutting the door behind you!
These tips helped to remind me of some things that I don’t always think about in regards to kitchen safety. I hope that they help you too.
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