Ho ho ho…there’s no doubt that some of the best holiday indulgences (turkey! cookies! cake!) come out of an oven, not a gift-wrapped box. But along with the many, many good things that originate in the kitchen throughout the holiday season, there’s something undesirable and all-too-common: fires.
The kitchen is the most common origin for home fires and fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking is the leading cause. Burns are the third most likely cause of fatal home injuries, too, according to the Home Safety Council. (For kids, they’re the most likely cause of fatalities).
And now, for the kicker: November and (especially) December are two of the most common months for home fires to occur. But don’t throw in your spatula just yet. “The good news is that you can prevent fires and injuries by taking simple precautions,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Public Affairs for the National Fire Protection Association. “Start by being aware of the risks.”
Be Smart. Be Alert. Protect Your Family.
Be smart. Never, ever leave the kitchen while food is cooking. Leaving food unattended—even for just a minute—is the most common cause of kitchen fires. Holidays are busy, and people can become easily distracted by doorbells and guests, so it’s very important to remember to pay attention to what you’re cooking.
Stay alert. Make sure to get a good night’s rest before a marathon cooking session and enjoy any alcoholic drinks after you power down the oven and stove. Make sure your kitchen is clean and clutter-free. Grease buildup on ranges and ovens makes it easier for fires to start. Also, oven mitts, food packaging, towels and curtains can go up in flames if they’re close to heat sources. Ensure smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in good working condition.Test every alarm in the house and review the instructions on how to use fire extinguishers.
(Added bonus: installing one often lowers your home insurance premium. Contact an Olsommer Clarke Agent to learn about a possible discount.)
Protect your family. Review your home fire escape plan. If the worst happens, you’ll want to be prepared. Decide on a place where everyone will meet, post the plan on your refrigerator door, and do a walk-through with every person in your family. Also, remind everyone of these two life-saving rhymes: “get low and go” (the air near the floor is clearer and easier to breathe) and “stop, drop and roll” (what to do if you catch on fire).