What’s that smell?
Don’t burn the beans or your home! Did you know that more fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home? There is a lot you can do to help reduce the chances of a fire starting in the kitchen. The New Mexico State University Fire Department would like to give you some tips to help keep your kitchen a safe place:
- Both gas and electric stoves can cause fires, as can toasters, toaster ovens, and any electrical appliance that can overheat. Be sure to follow the instructions when using your appliances.
- Don’t store things on top of, in, or around your oven.
Keep flammable things like dishtowels, paper bags, or cereal boxes, away from your stove. Don’t use your oven as ‘extra storage’ for flammable things like paper or plastic bags, plastic containers, or dishtowels. Even if you don’t turn the oven on, the pilot light can ignite objects inside.
- Turn pot handles toward the center of the stove when cooking on the stove top.
Pots and handles should never hang over the edge of the stove where someone could bump into them. This is one of the major causes of serious burns in children and elderly people.
- Don’t leave cooking unattended.
It only takes a minute for a fire to get out of hand. Don’t leave things cooking on the stove top unattended and check regularly on the things cooking in the oven.
- Use caution when cooking and handling hot objects.
Use potholders (as opposed to rags, that may catch fire) when moving any hot object. This includes objects coming out of the microwave – even ‘microwave-safe’ dishes can get extremely hot.
- Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves that may catch fire easily.
If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP AND ROLL!
- If a pot catches fire, turn off the burner and cover the pot with a lid.
- Keep cooking appliances free of food crumbs and scraps.
Clean your stove top, oven and toaster regularly to prevent leftover pieces of food from catching on fire. But remember, use caution when cleaning your appliances — unplug any electrical appliances and follow the cleaning instructions closely to avoid electrocution.
- Keep electrical appliances away from water and fire.
Try to plug in your appliances and keep electrical cords as far away as possible from water hazards, like the sink, or fire hazards, like the stove top.
- Don’t try to put out grease or electrical fires with water – this will only make them worse!
Adding water to a grease fire can make it spread. Adding water to an electrical fire can cause electrocution. One of the simplest and cheapest extinguishers of a grease fire is baking soda. Keep a box next to your stove to throw on stove top fires.
- Use your stove only as directed.
If you have a gas stove and smell gas (beyond a burnt-out pilot light), turn off all burners, open windows for better ventilation and call your gas company. Be cautious when relighting pilot lights: make sure the room is well ventilated and use long-stemmed matches or lighters. Never use your stove (electric or gas) to heat the room.