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Kitchen Safety Tips

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The kitchen is potentially one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, offering many opportunities for cuts, burns and fires. Accidents most likely occur when you're distracted, so keep all non-essential activity out of the kitchen, including playing children, rowdy gatherings of friends and family and televisions. Beyond creating a calm atmosphere, here are some other steps you can take to avoid kitchen accidents.

Appliance Safety

Use Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) certified appliances whenever possible. In addition:

  • Small electrical appliances: Keep them away from the sink or any water source, unplug when not in use, and make sure your hands are dry before handling the plug. Also, don't overload the circuits.
  • Microwaves: Use only microwave-safe containers, never anything metal. Always stir microwaved foods before serving to eliminate hot spots.
  • Toasters: Keep them away from anything flammable, and clean out crumbs regularly.
  • Turkey Fryers: These are so unsafe that none are UL certified. Use only outside on a stable, level surface away from anything flammable. Don't allow hot oil to overflow when adding the turkey.
  • Grills: Safety extends to your outdoor kitchen, too.
    1. Use grills outside only, to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
    2. Keep them on a stable surface away from other activities.
    3. Use long-handled tools to avoid burns.
    4. Never add starter fluid to a gas grill after starting the fire.
    5. Check the hose on a propane grill for leaks, and don't use it if you find one.

Prevent Kitchen Fires

  • Keep flammable items, including loose sleeves, towels and potholders, away from burners.
  • Never leave food cooking unattended.
  • Keep the stove clean to avoid igniting spilled food or grease.

Prevent Kitchen Scalds and Burns

  • Keep handles turned away from the stove edge.
  • Use back burners whenever possible.
  • Use potholders or oven mitts to touch hot pans of food. Never use worn or wet mitts.
  • Steam burns faster than boiling water, so open heated containers slowly and away from yourself.

If a Kitchen Accident Happens

If, despite your best efforts, an accident occurs, quick action can minimize the damage.

  • Grease: Smother a small grease fire with a lid, turn off the burner and do not touch the pan until it cools completely. Never use water or a fire extinguisher on grease fires.
  • Oven or microwave: Turn off the appliance, keep the door closed and let the fire burn itself out. If possible, unplug the microwave. Have the appliance inspected before using it again.
For other fires, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure you know how to use it. If you cannot control a fire quickly, leave the room, close the door if possible, and call 911.

Immediately place the burn in cool water until pain subsides, but not more than about 15 minutes. Cover minor burns with gauze and take aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling. Get medical attention for burns that are larger than your fist or causing severe pain or blistering. You can find more burn first aid tips on the Mayo clinic website.

Pay attention to what you are doing and take quick action to stay safe in the kitchen.

Content provided by Helium Inc. This information is provided for your convenience; it is not intended as insurance advice. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not those of Homesite Group Incorporated. Please consult your insurance carrier or agent for information regarding your policy or coverages.
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