Watch what you heat: 5 kitchen safety tips

Kitchen Safety

(BPT) – Cooking equipment is the top cause of home fires, and the second leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

“Considered to be one of the more preventable types of fires, kitchen fires can be avoided by following a few common-sense guidelines,” says Tarsila Wey, director of marketing at First Alert. “Home safety experts recommend having at least one fire extinguishing product conveniently located in the kitchen, as well as on every level of the home and in the garage.”

Be prepared to fight the small flames by following the below tips to stay safe in the kitchen.

Properly equip your home. Keep your family and house safe by ensuring that functioning smoke alarms are installed throughout your home. The NFPA recommends one alarm on every floor, including the basement, and inside every bedroom. In addition, install smoke alarms at least 10 feet from cooking appliances to minimize false alarms. All alarms should be tested monthly, and for alarms without 10-year batteries, replace the batteries every six months.

Keep an eye on your food. Staying in the kitchen while cooking is key to preventing oven or stovetop fires. Whether you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting, check on your food regularly. If you need a reminder that the oven or stove is on, just set a timer. Be aware that fires can happen fast, so if you must leave the kitchen — even for a short period of time — turn off the stove.

Clean your appliances. Keep all your appliances clean of grease and food debris that could potentially cause a fire. Clear the toaster of crumbs and wipe down the stovetop as needed. Ovens should be cleaned at least every three to six months.

Clear off kitchen countertops. Keep your countertops clean and clear of flammable objects. Move items such as pot holders, wooden utensils, plastic bags, food packaging and paper towels away from the stove, oven or any other kitchen device that generates heat.

Be prepared when disaster strikes. Over 70 percent of fire extinguisher owners say that they would not feel very comfortable actually operating one. Providing homeowners with a user-friendly, affordable solution, the First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray features a lightweight spray-can design that has no pins or levers — making it easy to use. It can put out common household fires, including cooking oil, fabric, paper, wood and electrical fires. Tundra sprays four times longer than an average fire extinguisher and fits perfectly in your kitchen cabinet. Plus, it won’t damage your stove or countertop; simply wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.

Having the necessary fire safety tools and knowledge, and talking with your family members about these safety precautions, can help prevent potentially fatal kitchen fires. To learn more tips and tricks, visit www.FirstAlert.com.