January 11, 2010
As kitchen designers, we look to create rooms that are not only beautiful and functional, but also safe. As a workspace, the kitchen is one of the most dangerous – sharp objects, slippery floors and open flames are just some of the things we encounter daily. But keeping ourselves safe is ultimately the responsibility of the occupant.
If you are a parent, you are probably super diligent about hazards in the kitchen – knives, poisons, glass jars, etc are kept out of reach or behind latching doors. But there are other things that we all should do to minimize our risk when in the kitchen.
- Remove floor rugs. We recommend that floor rugs not be used in the kitchen. They can become loose and get caught up in our feet causing us to trip or slip. If you feel you must have floor rugs in you kitchen, then make sure the underside has a non-skid lining.
- When cooking, don’t wear loose clothing that could catch fire.
- Make sure you have adequate ventilation for the size of your range. If you cook with oil frequently, have your vents checked every few years. Oil can build up inside the vents, creating an area prime for a fire within your walls.
Practicing fire safety is a number one priority. Every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher within reach. Check the extinguisher twice a year to be sure it is fully charged; we recommend checking your extinguisher when you check the batteries in your fire alarm. Your extinguisher should be rated for both electrical and grease fires.
If you find yourself with a kitchen fire and you can’t get to the fire extinguisher, keep yourself safe. DO NOT POUR WATER ON A KITCHEN FIRE. As someone who has experienced two kitchen fires (one a toaster malfunction, the other over heated oil in a pot), I know how important it is to be prepared so you can calmly assess the situation and not lose your home or your life.
An electrical fire:
- Unplug the appliance and move it away from flammables, if you can.
- Smother the fire with a heavy element like salt or baking soda.
- Smother the fire with a heavy cloth or metal pot lid.
A PSA was recently emailed to me regarding how to handle a grease fire with a damp (not dripping) dish towel. You can find this video posted to our Facebook page. It is good to note several things, before you watch. Do this only if you can’t quickly access a lid large enough to cover the pot. Do not attempt this with a shallow pan where the towel will submerge into the oil. In the case of an oil fire, do not try to smother the fire with particulate matter (salt, sugar, flour, etc) – this will cause an explosion.
Here’s to a safe and happy cooking experience in the new year!
Written by Imperial Kitchens and Baths designer, Stephanie Bullwinkel CBD.