Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you, the Diva of your kitchen. Your stove. Yes, your stove is like a Diva since when it’s on, it needs lots of attention, actually it needs your undivided attention and with good reason. The latest data reveals that 41% of all home fires begin in the kitchen, that’s very close to half! The other numbers don’t get better as kitchen fires are also the result of 15% of all home fire deaths and 36% of related injuries and yet I’m sure there are some of you out there who think, nah, that will never happen to me.
Distractions are not just related to car accidents but can be a danger in your home as one simple innocent distraction can keep you away from your diva just long enough that a fire can begin. You’re kitchen is probably already the family main hub and very hectic during a normal week with kid’s homework, school projects, food preparation, cooking, eating and cleanup, but then during the period of what I call, the holiday gauntlet (time between Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day) add a house full of guests and daily visitors, it’s even busier and now you have all the burners engaged and juggling various cooking modes like frying in one pan, boiling in another, simmering in a third and sauté in a fourth. Your diva is demanding all that attention when suddenly what seems like a simple distraction; a phone call, the door bell, your child, the television, your favorite holiday song, email a text and you are caught up in that moment and that pan with fats and oils on fairly high heat gets extremely hot and begins to smoke or the sauce that is now at a rapid boil is spattering hot liquid everywhere in the kitchen.
What you thought was only a few seconds away from the stove was actually only a minute or two but was still long enough for your diva to throw a fit. The hot liquid spattering could hit a young child or adult near the stove, causing a third degree burn and worse if it gets into their eye. That hot oil could explode into a out of control grease fire or a child trying to move one of those pots off a burner could spill the hot oil or liquid on to themselves. Why you also keep the handles of pots and pans turned inward.
If you have prepared for the worst case scenario, you have a operational smoke detector in the house, which you have recently replaced the batteries November 1st with the time change. If you haven’t changed those batteries in a long while, STOP, do it NOW. For a small grease fire in a pan just use the lid of the pan to smother the flames and remove from the heat source or douse in baking soda. For a larger kitchen fire pull out that fire extinguisher you have had located in a easy to get to location in the kitchen. Make sure to buy only an ABC rated (wood/liquids/electrical) extinguisher and never use water on a grease fire! You also need to know when it’s time to call 911 and evacuate the premises. If the flames are too big and the house is filling with smoke don’t try and be a hero, leave and let the trained firefighters handle it.
The best pro-active step you can take besides being prepared for an emergency is to keep your diva and other kitchen equipment clean and in good working order. That is what the professionals do. So make sure your diva gets the attention it needs by doing a deep cleaning at least twice a year. Remove grease, oils and baked on spills. The manufacturer’s guide is a great resource for instructions on care. If you do a lot of cooking I also recommend cleaning the venting/range hood every other week and put a little water into the grease removable traps for the hood, it keeps the grease from hardening and it’s easier to clean.
By keeping distractions to a minimum and centralizing activities cooking can be a fun family event. Not to scare you but your home can be as busy and dangerous as any workplace. After all, they face the same issues you do: equipment repair, facility maintenance, sanitation, scheduling, transportation, purchasing, invoicing/payables, training, emergency preparation, accidents and other potential hazards like fire and nature. Witzshared shares with you tips, ideas and tools the pros use that you can apply to your home and what better way to make your home a safer and healthier place for your family.