Working in a kitchen, whether it be your own or at a restaurant, includes the handling of some surprisingly dangerous elements. Sharp knives, raw meats, and the most unpredictable of all, fire. If you’re just cooking some eggs on a Sunday morning it’s easy to forget that something inherently dangerous is making those eggs sizzle, but a misplaced paper towel or some stray oil can turn that slow Sunday morning into a disaster. Proper kitchen safety is incredibly important whether you live in a mansion in Green Bay, a Sturgeon Bay apartment, or even a single room cabin in the woods. Any home can be impacted by cooking fires, and though the fire restoration specialists at ServiceMaster Recovery by Restoration Holdings can help you restore your kitchen after a fire, it’s better if you know the best ways to avoid cooking fires in the first place.
Cause #1: The Crowded Kitchen
It’s important to keep in mind that cooking fires are common because the kitchen is one of the few places in your home that combines high heat, volatile liquids, and various electric appliances. Cooking oils, grease, recipe books, blenders, food processors, and stoves are all part of a potentially dangerous equation. The more things you keep in a kitchen, the more things a cooking fire will be able to feed from.
Solution #1: De-clutter and Clean
Keep papers and oils away from the stove, don’t plug items in too close to the sink, and when you’re done cooking, make sure you clean any surfaces that may have residue or clutter on them. By keeping your kitchen organized and less crowded you will lower your chances for a cooking fire. This includes making sure that kitchen outlets aren’t overcrowded either. In fact, consider keeping all appliances unplugged unless they’re actively being used.
Cause #2: The Panicked Splasher
The opposite of fire is water, correct? Say your beautiful bacon just went up in flames. The best thing to do is throw a glass of water on the flames, right? Wrong! Oil and grease-based cooking fires react explosively (literally!) when water is introduced. This means a small fire can become a genuine catastrophe with the right encouragement.
Solution #2: Smother, don’t Splash
If you’re cooking with oil or grease and a cooking fire breaks out, place a cover over the pot or pan in question and turn off the heat. Cutting off oxygen to the fire will allow it to die down naturally. If you want to avoid oil or grease fires in the first place, it’s a good idea to know the smoke points for your cooking oils. Choosing an oil with a high smoke point generally means it can handle higher heats!
Cause #3: The Wandering Chef
Once a pot is boiling or a sauté is sautéing, it’s hard not to wander off and get other things done. Maybe the living room could stand some cleaning, or perhaps the news is about to start downstairs. Unless you aren’t within stirring-distance, things can go wrong in a hurry. Your pasta boiling could accidently become a fiery catastrophe if you’re not close enough to quickly take care of the problem.
Solution #3: Big Brother is Watching (the Soufflé)
Bringing activities into the kitchen with you is much safer than going off to do them. If you have bills to pay, then prop your laptop on the counter and stir between websites. If the news is on, pump up the volume and listen as you peel. As long as fire is in the picture, proper kitchen safety means you should be too. This can be frustrating, particularly with time consuming recipes, but it’s better to have your time consumed rather than your house.
If any of these scenarios are familiar to you, consider making some conscious changes to your kitchen etiquette. Proper kitchen safety impacts your safety, your family’s safety, and your home’s safety. If you or someone you know in the Green Bay or Sturgeon Bay, WI area has been effected by a cooking fire, contact ServiceMaster Recovery by Restoration Holdings for information on fire restoration options. Even with constant kitchen vigilance, sometimes things can go wrong. When they do, ServiceMaster Recovery by Restoration Holdings is here to help. Call us at 920.336.7411 or visit our website here today.