Holiday cooking is the leading cause of winter home fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. These simple safety tips for the holidays will help you have a safe and happy holiday season.
Keep Chaos Out of the Kitchen
Holiday meal preparation can be hectic, especially once guests begin to arrive. For everyone’s safety, insist that all non-food-related activities happen outside the kitchen. Fewer people in the kitchen means fewer chances for a kitchen fire during holiday cooking.
Never Leave the Stove Unattended
If you have a pot cooking on the stove, do not leave it unattended. If you must leave, turn the burner off and be sure the handle is turned inward where it will not be bumped. Better yet, ask someone else to answer the doorbell or take the dog for a walk.
Follow the Recipe
If your recipe calls for a quart-sized saucepan, don’t be tempted to use something smaller – especially if the pan seems too large for the ingredients. Some recipes, such as homemade caramel, boil up dangerously. Using too small a pan can lead to boiling sugar or other ingredients overflowing onto the burner, which can ignite a fire.
Dress For Safety
When you’re in the kitchen, how you dress can be critical. Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves, and tie back long hair. Loose clothing and long hair can catch fire when you least expect it, causing severe burns and spreading the fire to the rest of the kitchen.
Be Ready to Put Out a Cooking Fire
The most effective way to put out a cooking fire is to smother it. Keep a tight-fitting lid and potholder within reach any time you use the stove so you can smother any flames that ignite inside a frying pan or saucepan. Keep a working fire extinguisher handy for fires that start outside a cooking vessel. Remember to aim the extinguisher at the base of the flame, not at the flames themselves.
If you cannot get a cooking fire under control quickly, evacuate the house and call 911.
Keep these Christmas safety tips in mind during your holiday cooking, and you’ll be able to focus on enjoying time with friends and family, not on getting everyone safely out of the house during a fire.