The first complete week in February is National Burn Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Watch What You Heat.” In the United States, approximately every 60 seconds someone sustains a burn injury that requires treatment.
Nearly half of all home fires start in the kitchen and are caused by cooking. Remember that preventing a burn injury is always better than the pain and trauma for medical treatment afterward.
Older adults are at much higher risk of injury and death from a kitchen fire due to physical, visual, hearing or impairments in mental acuity that may slow down the quick action necessary in a fire emergency. Older adults have thinner skin tends to burn faster and deeper. It also heals more slowly.
The best time to cook is when you are wide awake, and not drowsy from medications or alcohol.
- Always wipe clean the stove, oven, exhaust fan to prevent grease buildup.
- Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Keep a pan lid and dry potholders or oven mitts near you EVERY time you cook.
- Turn pot or pan handles toward the back of the stove.
- When heating food in the microwave, use microwave safe cookware that allows steam to escape.
- Allow food to rest before removing from the microwave.
- When frying, use a pan lid or splash guard to prevent grease splatter.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you to check on your cooking.
- After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off.
If your food does catch on fire…
- Cover the pan with its lid. A cookie sheet works too. Leave covered until the pan is cool. NEVER move the pot or carry it outside – the pot is too hot to handle and the contents may splash, causing a severe burn.
- Turn the heat off. With the lid on and the heat off, the fire should quickly put itself out. NEVER use water to put out a kitchen fire. Water will cause the oil to splatter and spread the fire, or scald you as it vaporizes.
- If the fire is inside the oven or microwave, keep the door shut and turn it off. Keep closed until the oven is cool.
- If the fire gets out of control- get out, stay out and call 9-1-1. Don’t return inside for any reason.
Content courtesy: National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA)