Imagine this — you’ve just finished moving into your dream home, the neighborhood is full of wonderful people, the schools are great, and the local economy is exceptional and growing by the minute. You could not be in a better place at this moment in your life. The very last thing you’re worried about is a house fire that could take this all away in a flash — but that is exactly the reason it is important to talk about them. House fires can happen quickly and abruptly and are usually near the bottom of the list of concerns for homeowners. No one should ever have to deal with a disastrous event like a house fire, but armed with the proper knowledge on how to prevent them and keep your home safe, you can rest assured that your beautiful home and family will be safe for years to come.
Did you know that most house fires start in the kitchen? And that the number one cause of house fires is cooking? The good news is that most cooking fires are easily preventable and stem from basic inattentiveness. Follow these simple steps while cooking and you can help keep your home safe from disaster.
1) Never leave food that is currently cooking unattended. This is one of the easiest and most self-explanatory tips to help prevent fires. Always keep an eye on whatever you may be grilling, frying or broiling, as these are the most likely methods of cooking to start a fire. If you must leave the kitchen at any point, turn off whatever is on and resume when you return.
2) Use a timer when cooking with the oven or stove to help remind you that it is on. It is very easy to get caught up in a large cooking project and forget that the oven has been left on.
3) Think back to your chemistry lab in high school — no loose or dangling clothing. Just as you wouldn’t want to expose clothing to a bunsen burner in a lab, you wouldn’t want to accidentally place your loose clothing on a piping hot stovetop.
4) Keep your children away from hot surfaces and hot appliances in the kitchen. This is not only for the protection of your home, but more importantly the safety of your children. No one likes a hospital visit for a nasty stovetop burn.
5) Keep easily flammable items like oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic food packaging and towels or cloths away from hot surfaces. Make a habit of stowing them in a place away from the hot surfaces in your kitchen.
6) Keep your kitchen clean! Grease buildup is one of the easiest ways to start a fire. A simple wipe down after each use of the kitchen can help prevent dangerous buildup and obviously improves the aesthetics of your home overall.
7) Install smoke alarms in your home and consider placing a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. You can’t be all eyes and ears on everything 100% of the time, so a good backup like a smoke alarm or extinguisher could come in handy if you find yourself distracted.
8) Last but not least, always check the kitchen for appliances left on before you leave your home or go to sleep. Just a quick 30 seconds of your time could save your entire home, your family and your life.
Home fires should be the last thing on your mind — and they can be by following these simple tips. For more resources, check out this checklist from the American Red Cross on fire prevention and safety. Or take this quiz to determine how safe you are while cooking. For a more comprehensive list, read up on all things home fire here.