Monday, October 15, 2007

Practical Cooking Safety Tips

The kitchen can be a very busy center of activity. Many of us have more than one thing that we are working on in getting that meal prepared and ready for consumption. The stove is heating pots of whatever, the oven is cooking or baking something else, the cutting board and knives are either being used or going to be used for chopping, dicing, mincing, etc. We are moving from the refrigerator to the sink to the stove to the kitchen countertop to the microwave to the . . . You get the idea.


Add one or more precious ingredients while this is going on, like our children, and we really need to be extra careful that no mishaps occur. Here are some cooking safety tips that we trust will avoid anyone getting hurt in your kitchen.


• Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.


• Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended.


• Keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.


• Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (e.g. potholders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging.)


• Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet (1 meter) around the stove.


• Keep pets from underfoot so you do not trip while cooking. Also, keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto burner.


• Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.


• Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.


• Always keep a potholder, oven mitt and lid handy. If a small fire starts in a pan on the stove, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don't remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire and never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire, as it can spray or shoot burning grease around the kitchen, actually spreading the fire.


• If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing.


• If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave. Call the fire department and make sure to have the oven serviced before you use it again. Food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot. Remove the lids or other coverings from microwaved food carefully to prevent steam burns.


Source: The National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org).


If you feel you've got some other safety tips that just might help someone stay safe in the kitchen, why not let us know.



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