Watch what you heat: Prevent cooking fires
Your kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house. And, it’s about to be the center of activity with the holidays ahead. Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires, so you need to watch what you heat.
Most house fires are avoidable. A big problem is something I’ll call “distracted cooking,” which is really unattended cooking. I’ve been guilty of this. Once, I was baking Christmas cookies and suddenly remembered I needed something at Walmart. So, I dashed out the door. Because there is no such thing as a quick trip to Walmart, I took my sweet time (having totally forgotten about the cookies), and got a lucky lesson on how to make cookie dough ornaments.
Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA says two-thirds of home cooking fires start with food or other cooking materials igniting. Cooking equipment fires account for 40 percent of all reported home fires and 36 percent of home injuries. The NPA has a fact sheet on home fires showing that three of every five injuries in non-fatal home cooking fires happen when victims try to fight the fire themselves. You do need a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and here is information on fire extinguishers – what to buy and how they work.
There are cooking dangers outdoors, too. All fingers point to the turkey fryer. Lots of hot oil + a big, wet bird + propane burners = danger: The NPA says don’t do it and warns that 5 gallons of oil is a hazard in and of itself. They suggest an oil-free cooking appliance. The U.S. Fire Administration also has tips on safe cooking behaviors. And, so does actor William Shatner. He has a Fryer’s Club and a YouTube video called “Eat, Fry, Love” produced by State Farm with a cautionary tale.
A homeowners insurance policy covers losses from fire. And, if you have a monitored security and fire alarm, you may be entitled to a discount on your premium. Enjoy the holidays – safely.