During the holidays, family and friends congregate to celebrate. Everyone gathers in the kitchen to cook favorite recipes, share warm meals and reconnect with each other. Keep your family safe during these joyful times by learning some basic holiday food preparation safety tips before you start cooking.
“The United States Fire Administration estimates more than 2,000 residential fires are reported each Thanksgiving, with cooking the leading cause,” said Steve Losey, REMC Safety Committee Member. “The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time for families to be together in celebration, and we just want them to take precautions and be safe.”
Take steps to protect your home and family from cooking hazards while in the kitchen by installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Test the batteries in each smoke alarm every month and replace them once a year. Creating an escape plan for the whole family will ensure that no matter the circumstances, everyone knows how to exit safely.
With unattended cooking equipment as the leading cause of home cooking fires, always be sure that someone takes over the preparation when needed. Before cooking, clean the stovetop and oven to wipe away any grease or dust to prevent a fire.
While cooking, it’s easy to forget about something in the oven, especially when you’re entertaining guests. Use a kitchen timer to make sure your dish doesn’t burn to a crisp, creating a fire hazard. When cooking on the stove, protect you and any reaching hands from spills or burns by using the back burners. If children are in the room, keep a close eye on them, or direct them out of the kitchen. If cooking over a hot stove, wear short or close-fitting sleeves to avoid a fire.
Always locate appliances away from the sink to avoid any electrical dangers. Plug countertop appliances into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets and keep cords away from hot surfaces like toasters. When finished with these appliances, always unplug them to save energy and avoid electrical hazards.
Before your family can sit down and enjoy the meal you just spent all day preparing, be sure all appliances have been turned off. Then you can all enjoy each other’s company during the holiday season with peace of mind knowing everyone is safe.