I do not think that a statistic has ever come out naming Thanksgiving as the top cooking day of the year, but for the sake of this article, we will treat it as such. I am getting hungry just thinking about all that will be fixed for the feast. The problem is that with more cooking comes an exponentially higher probability and possibility of an unattended cooking related fire. As you have heard me say, 3.7 out of every 10 residential fires, whether single-family or multi-family, occur in the kitchen. The disadvantage to multi-family dwellings is that you can do everything right, but one of your neighbors can ruin your day.
Cooking brings the three elements needed for a fire together: heat, fuel and oxygen. Normally, two of these are controlled in a way that no fire occurs. It is when something is forgotten or the heat encounters the wrong combustible that a fire occurs. It is important to keep the stove top and oven clean prior to cooking. While cooking, it is important to stay close to the kitchen. Once finished cooking, you must ensure that all burners and the oven are turned off. If for some reason the power should go off, always remember to check the burners to ensure that they are off, or you have delayed the fire that will occur once the power comes back on.
What if a fire does occur? Take one of the three elements away and the fire will go out. If you can safely turn off the burner or oven, do so. Remember, you can turn the power off at the breaker box as well. This will remove some of the heat. If a pan or something in the oven catches on fire, close the oven or cover the pan. This will remove the oxygen. Once the fire is controlled, it is important not to attempt to remove the cover or the pan, due to the temperature of the fuel. If the fire cannot be controlled in these ways, then you may need to use a portable fire extinguisher. To use an extinguisher, remember P.A.S.S. – pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the handle and sweep the nozzle at the base of the fire. If the fire cannot be quickly controlled, get your family out and stay out, and call 911.
The best means of early notification of a fire is a proper number of properly installed and operating smoke alarms. If a smoke alarm goes off every time that you cook, move it. We just changed our clocks, which was a good time to change the batteries in smoke alarms. If you did not change your batteries yet, then there is no time like the present. Most importantly, test smoke alarms monthly. If you have not tested them yet, get up and do it right now!
I do not know what your year has been like. Some will say they are blessed beyond measure, while others say this year cannot end soon enough. I am thankful for who I am in Christ. I am thankful for my family.
I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be sure to pay attention to what you are cooking so that you won’t have unexpected guests join you because your house caught on fire.