As we head into the season of family dinners, here are a few reminders on how to avoid inviting the fire department to your gathering.

Why Should I Worry About Kitchen Fires?

It's so easy to think it would never happen to you, but kitchen fires can start quickly and are often caused by an oversight. The important thing to remember is to act just as quickly and be smart about how you deal with the fire. Not like the guy in the picture, who should not be holding that burning pot. As demonstrated in this video, a small kitchen fire can become a big problem in a very short time, so it's important to be prepared.

What Are Some of the Tips I Should Keep in Mind?

Here are a few key safety tips to keep in mind when in the kitchen, in order to prevent fires:

    • Keep combustibles away from the stove. What is 'a combustible?' I always think of aerosol cans, but combustibles are anything that will burn. So, when you're cooking and you set the oven mitt near the burner, that's what this tip is referring to. Keep anything that can burn away from the stove/oven/flame. This includes curtains that may be close to the stove.
    • Don't leave the room while you're cooking and pay attention. Reaction time is important with kitchen fires, so if some grease splatters and catches the pan on fire, you want to be right there to catch it. The quicker you extinguish the fire, the less damage is done to your kitchen.
    • Always have a pan lid and fire extinguisher nearby. You never, ever pour water on a grease fire. Instead, grab the pot lid and cover the pot to smother the flames. Never, ever pick up the open pot and run through the house because you'll just spread the flames. Cover the pot. And have an extinguisher nearby, just in case. This video demonstrates what happens to a small grease fire when you pour water onto it.

Where Can I Find More Information?

The United States Fire Administration has some great information about kitchen fires and even safety info for that turkey fryer that you plan to use for the holidays. To paraphrase Smokey Bear, 'Only you can prevent kitchen fires.'

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