Families across the Tennessee Valley are making plans for the upcoming holiday season and looking forward to sharing meals with family and friends. As you plan your holiday meals, also keep in mind the safety hazards that can pop up in the kitchen.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Fortunately, there are simple ways homeowners can make sure their family and loved ones are safe in and around the kitchen during the holidays.
As you spend more time in the kitchen this year, keep the following tips in mind:
Stay in kitchen while cooking
With so many distractions at home, from phone calls to children needing help with homework, it might be tempting to step away from your kitchen for a few minutes. But if you’re frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food, stay in the kitchen.
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen. Experts recommend staying close by and checking your food regularly, especially if you are simmering, baking or roasting food.
Keep a lid within reach
When you’re cooking, make sure you always have a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in your kitchen, experts recommend sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Avoid uncovering the pan until it’s completely cool.
Flammable materials awareness
Remove anything that could catch fire away from your stovetop. Another thing to remember is loose clothing can hang down onto stove burners and catch fire. Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
Keep children away
Preparing meals with your family can be a treasured tradition, but don’t forget about safety. If you have small children in your kitchen, NFPA recommends setting up a kid-free zone at least 3 feet around your stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
Working smoking alarms in your home can cut in half the risk of fire-related deaths. If you don’t already have smoke alarms in your home, install them in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area on every level of your home.
If you have smoke alarms installed, remember to test your smoke alarms at least once a month using the test buttons.
To consult a professional about fire safety, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s online directory at HBAGC.net.