Tips for Cooking Safety

February 3, 2019

Burn Prevention Week 2019 takes place February 3-9. It is a good time to think about how devastating these injuries can be and the simple steps we can all take to prevent an accident. Cooking is one of the leading causes of fires and burns, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. It is the number one cause of kitchen fires and over half of the individuals sustaining injuries in a home fire did so attempting to control it themselves.

Following some basic cooking safety tips from our Phoenix burn injury lawyers can help reduce your risk of injury from fires and hot cooking surfaces.

Start With an Ounce of Prevention

The best way to avoid burns is to prevent conditions in which they can occur.

  • Only cook when you are awake and alert – not when you are drowsy, under the influence of alcohol, or taking medications that can make you sleepy.
  • Prevent grease fires by keeping your cooking surfaces clean.
  • When cooking, always wear short or form-fitting sleeves.
  • Keep a pan lid next to you when you cook to avoid spills or overflow.
  • Children under the age of five and adults over the age of 65 are at the highest risk for burns. Turn all pot handles toward the inside of the stovetop and away from a child’s reach.
  • Always use microwave-safe containers when reheating food in the microwave.
  • Always stay in the kitchen when preparing food, as unattended cooking surfaces are a high risk of fire.
  • Always remain home while food is cooking, even if your food is just simmering on a stovetop.
  • Allow all cooked food to cool for a few minutes before consuming.
  • Always have a dry hot pad handy.
  • After cooking, make sure all burners and other kitchen appliances are off.

Handle Fires Safely When They Occur

Despite the best prevention efforts, kitchen fires can occur. Knowing how to handle a fire in the kitchen can help prevent serious injury.

  • Cover any fires in a pan with its lid or a cookies sheet, as this keeps the fire from getting the oxygen it needs to continue. Never attempt to grab the pan and take it outside, as they can cause severe burns. Leave the fire covered until the pan is cool.
  • Turn off all the heat sources. Between the lid and lack of heat, a fire should ideally put itself out. Do not use water on a kitchen fire, as grease can cause hot liquids to splatter and cause serious injury.
  • If the fire is in the oven or microwave, keep the door shut and turn the unit off. Keep all doors closed until the fire subsides and the inside is cool.
  • If a kitchen fire spreads or gets out of control, do not attempt to fight it yourself. Call 911, go outside and wait for help.

Take Special Precautions While Frying

Grease fires present a serious danger of burns and can easily get out of control. Adding water to them can cause scalds and serious injury.

  • Always remain in the kitchen while frying food.
  • If the oil begins to smoke or smell, turn off the stovetop and carefully remove the food from the heat source.
  • When heating oil, bring it to temperature slowly to avoid splattering.
  • Add foods to oil gently and ensure they are completely dry.
  • Always keep a pan lid next to you in case of fire, as the only way to control a grease fire is to smother it.

Cooking can lead to serious injury, but burns are largely preventable. Observe these tips to maximize your family’s safety in the kitchen and avoid fires in the kitchen.