Watch What You Heat: Cooking Safety

Cooking causes 47% of all home fires, according to the American Burn Association. Preventing burns is always easier than treating them, so we’re sharing cooking safety tips this National Burn Awareness Week.

Keep reading to learn how to prevent cooking fires and what to do if your food catches on fire.

Cooking Safety and Fire Prevention

Avoid cooking when you’re very tired or drowsy. Don’t leave the kitchen if you’re frying, grilling, or broiling food; if you do need to leave the room, turn off the stove. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling your food, make sure you check it regularly and stay in your home while the food is cooking. Use a timer to remind you to check on the food.

Use the back burners of the stove when possible and turn pot/pan handles toward the back of the stove. Keep a pan lid and dry potholders or over mitts nearby every time you cook. If you’re frying food, use a pan lid or splash guard to avoid grease splattering. The hot liquid can cause burn injuries.

If you’re cooking in the microwave, always use cookware that is microwave safe and allows steam to escape. Let the food rest before you take it out of the microwave.

Wear short sleeves or sleeves that fit closely when cooking. Keep the stove, oven, and exhaust fan clean to prevent grease from building up. When you’re finished cooking, check to make sure all the burners and other appliances are turned off.

What to Do When Food Catches on Fire

If your food catches on fire, cover the pan with its lid or a cookie sheet and turn the heat off. Leave it covered until the pan is cool. Don’t move the pot/pan or carry it outside. It’s too hot to handle and the contents could splash and cause a severe burn injury.

With the lid on and heating off, the fire should extinguish itself quickly. Never use water to try to put out a kitchen fire. It will cause oil to splatter, which will spread the fire and/or scald you.

If there’s a fire inside your oven or microwave, keep the door closed and turn it off. Keep the appliance closed until it is cool. If the fire becomes uncontrollable, evacuate the space! Get out, stay out, and call 911. Don’t go back inside for any reason.

Adults older than 65 are at higher risk of injury and death from a kitchen fire. Physical, visual, hearing, or mental impairments can slow reaction time. Older adults also have thinner skin that burns faster and deeper.

Babies and small children are also at high risk, particularly for non-fire cooking burns from cooking equipment, tableware, and cookware. Start teaching young children to stay away from hot stoves and appliances at an early age. The American Burn Association recommends maintaining a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. Never hold a child while you’re cooking, drinking a hot drink, or carrying hot food or liquids.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.