T hanksgiving is a time when families gather around a table full of turkey, dressing, and all the fixings. Unless you buy a fully prepared meal, someone is going to get to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In other words, a lot of cooking normally takes place, during this time of the year. The number one cause of residential fires in America is cooking-related fires. Many of these cooking-related incidents are probably due to unattended cooking. Whatever the case, more time in the kitchen increases the probability of an unwanted kitchen fire.
What will you do before a fire occurs in your kitchen? If you have read any of my material in the past, you already know these answers. Your home must be protected by a proper number of properly located and operational smoke alarms. If you have a smoke alarm near your kitchen and it goes off every time that you cook, do not disable it; move it! Most will not retrofit their home with a residential sprinkler system, but if you are building a new home, you might want to consider the installation of a residential sprinkler system. The presence of smoke alarms and a residential sprinkler system allow for the greatest possibility of escape. Speaking of escape, you must have a practiced home escape plan before a fire occurs. You will also want to take every precaution possible to prevent a kitchen fire from occurring. Another important piece of the before actions is to know what you will do when a kitchen fire occurs.
What will you do when a kitchen fire occurs? Your immediate and correct actions may be the difference between the fire going out quickly versus the fire doing extensive damage. The first decision will be, do I attempt to extinguish this fire or do I sound the alarm, in other words, do I and others get out and stay out? If you decide to try to extinguish the fire, how will you do it? Every fire needs three things: heat, fuel, and oxygen. Remove one of the three and the fire goes out. To remove the heat, you must either turn the burner off or remove the pan from the burner. Removing the pan from the burner could prove dangerous. To remove the oxygen, you must cover the pan, preferably with something that you can slide across the top of the pan. You should not use water to attempt to extinguish a pan of oil on fire. You can use baking soda, or you can use a multi-purpose or Class B extinguisher. Remember the basics of using a fire extinguisher:
Pull the pin
Aim the nozzle
Squeeze the handle
Sweep the nozzle at the base of the fire
What should you do and not do once the fire is extinguished? Congratulations, you have successfully extinguished the fire by taking the right corrective actions. Do not mess it up! It is critical that you do not reverse the corrective action that you just took. In other words, do not remove the lid from the pan immediately after the fire has gone out. The heat and the fuel are still present; all the two need is oxygen for the fire to reignite. Another thing that you should not do is move a hot pan with hot fuel. If the lid comes off, it could reignite in your hands. If hot oil escapes from the pan, it could get on you, causing serious burns.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the many things that you are thankful for. Food, fun, family, and fellowship are the key components to a great Thanksgiving. You may know someone who is alone for whatever reason. I ask you to look far beyond yourself this holiday. Everyone needs someone. The Bible teaches us that when we serve, visit, or love on others, we have done it as to the Lord Himself. God bless each of you.