The York Area United Fire and Rescue is partnering with the United States Fire Administration (USFA) to help reduce the instances of cooking fires and injuries. Cooking fires continue to be the most common type of fires experienced by households within the U.S. There are increased incidence of cooking fires on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of civilian fire injuries in residences. These fires are preventable by simply being more attentive to the use of cooking materials and equipment.
Safe Cooking Tips
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains away from your stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
- Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
If You Have a Cooking Fire
- When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you have a clear path to the exit.
- Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
- In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
- If you have a fire in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
- After a fire, both ovens and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.
Burns and Scalds
Most burns associated with cooking equipment, cookware, and tableware are not caused by fire or
flame. In 2009, ranges or ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries seen
in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Microwaves are a leading cause of scald burns. Be extra
careful when opening a heated food container. Heat food in containers that are marked
„microwave safe.‟ Since foods heat unevenly in the microwave, make sure you stir and test the
food before eating.
Protecting Children from Scalds and Burns
Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than of being burned in a cooking fire. You can help prevent these injuries by following a few basic tips:
- Keep children at least 3 feet away from where food and drink are being prepared or carried.
- Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table or counter edges.
- Use the stove‟s back burners if you have young children in the home.
- Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!