Everyone loves a home-cooked meal. Gathering around the table with delicious food and family can bring joy no matter what the season or occasion. But many home cooks, both experienced and novices, unknowingly put themselves and their families at risk. These cooking safety errors can lead to disastrous consequences. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires at 49%*.
From a little smoke and soot to charred cabinets, a kitchen fire can get out of hand quickly leading to extensive fire damage. ServiceMaster Dynamic Cleaning has responded to thousands of kitchen fires over the years. Our team recently restored a fire-damaged home after the owner left a pizza box on the stove, accidentally igniting the cardboard box. We have also seen dangerous grease fires when the home chef tried to move the flaming pan outside, spreading oil and fire through the home. We've seen full garages have been destroyed when charcoal grills have been stored improperly. Keep your home and family safe with these fire safety suggestions.
Don't Make These Cooking Mistakes
- Leaving cooking unattended. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking*. This is most important when cooking on the stovetop. When baking in the oven or microwave, make sure to check on the food occasionally.
- Not keeping a safe zone. Keep flammable items like potholders, towels, and cardboard boxes away from the stovetop. Find a spot for these common items where they are easily assessable while cooking but do not pose a hazard. Additionally, teach children and pets to keep 3-feet back while the stove is in use.
- Cooking on a dirty stove or grill. A dirty, greasy stove riddled with last night's macaroni pieces is a recipe for disaster. Grease and food debris, if not cleaned regularly, can lead to flare-ups and grease fires.
- Not following grilling safety. If you use a charcoal grill to cookout, make sure you let the coals cool and dispose of them properly. Reduce the spread of a fire if you do have an accident by placing your grill at least 10 feet from the house.
- Cooking with oil on too high of heat. Certain oils have a low 'smoke-point' and are not suitable for cooking with high heats. Cooking with high heat or too much oil can cause a grease fire. Oils with a high smoke point include avocado oil and canola oil, good for cooking at a higher heat. A reminder that oil and water do not mix! If you do have a flare-up, slide a lid of the same size over the pan and turn the stove off to extinguish the fire.
- Not having the proper safety equipment. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher rated B for flammable liquids, perfect for kitchen fires. Smoke alarms should be on every level of the house, outside sleeping areas, and in the kitchen. Don't forget to test them regularly!
The kitchen is often the hub of the home. Putting some rules in place while you are cooking will help to keep mealtime distraction-free. Hopefully, this list of cooking mistakes to avoid will help you keep your home safe from fire damage. But if the worst should happen, we are available 24/7/365. Contact us anytime for water, fire, or mold restoration.