MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.
Cooking causes more than 40 percent of fires reported in the homes according to the National Fire Protection Association. Meridian Township's Fire Inspector Tavis Millerov went over proper techniques and safety tips, when cooking in the kitchen.
“Most of the time when we see kitchen fires throughout America the No. 1 cause is inattentiveness, especially when it gets around the holiday season, you’re busy doing so many things and multitasking at once that some of the fine details fall through the cracks and that’s where you get in trouble.“
Millerov also explained how to prevent fires, “Make sure your dishtowels aren't inside the oven door, and properly stored on the handle. Secondly having items too close to your stove make sure they’re disposed of. One of the big things as we’re coming into Thanksgiving is turkey fryer season. The big thing to remember turkey fryers are big pots of grease. With grease fires, the main thing is never use water. It will cause a grease fire to get bigger. We want to cover it with a lid.”
Millerov also mentioned that it is important to make sure that the turkey is completely un-thawed and dry before placing in fryer. The moisture can cause a steam explosion.
When asked what families should do before preparing their meals. Millerov said, “Have a plan… have an idea of what kind of times are involved with it. One of the things I like to tell people is to cook with an oven mit on your hand or a kitchen utensil because studies have shown that when you go do something else the oven mit will jog your memory and hopefully by then its not too late.”
Millerov explained how to use the stove and oven safely. He said that keeping stove temperatures at a good level for what you’re cooking is important, and when cooking with grease don’t turn the levels up higher than needed.
With the holidays coming up, Millerov was asked how many is too many in the kitchen. He said, “if the cook’s starting to feel crowded you need to thin the crowd out.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also offers these safety tips:
-Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
-Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
-Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
-Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
-Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
-Keep knives out of the reach of children.
-Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
-Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
-Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.
-Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
The NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers.