The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto wants everyone to have a happy and safe holiday season, free from seasonal hazards and restoration of a fire-damaged home. Knowing that people will be cooking and entertaining during the season, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these tips on how to stay safe in the kitchen.
The holiday season is hectic, running here and there, buying presents, racing to holiday parties, and preparing food for family gatherings and the big games. One place to slow down, pay attention, and take precautions is in the kitchen. One of the leading causes of house fires and personal injury is unattended dishes cooking on the stove. A phone call, a text that needs an immediate response, a crying child, a pet who needs attention, guests at the door, or other interruptions and distractions can make safe cooking very difficult. A ruined meal, burn or scald injuries, or even a full-blown cooking fire can result if the cook fails to juggle everything in the kitchen and the home successfully.
The holidays see a spike in home cooking fires. Amid the festivities and celebrations, families need to take the time to create a fire safety plan or review their existing fire safety plan. Two essential components of a simple fire safety plan are evacuation routes and fire extinguishers. Precautions should also be taken to avoid personal injuries such as scalds and burns.
Whether the cooking involves preparing a side dish or a three-course meal for a family gathering, kitchen fires and personal injury can be avoided by following safe cooking tips.
- Cooking is a complex activity involving many items. Food packages, paper towels, potholders, oven mitts, and dish towels can readily catch fire when placed too close to a hot burner. Stay safe by keeping flammable articles away from hot burners.
- Dress for safety. Long, flowing sleeves and bulky clothing create a fire hazard. If possible, wear clothing made of natural fibers when cooking. An apron keeps clothing clean and safe. Clothing made of highly flammable fibers should not be worn while cooking, especially if open flames are involved. Be aware that long hair can present a safety hazard when cooking on a gas stove or preparing dishes that flame up.
- Unattended cooking is the top cause of home fires. Stay with a cooking meal. Too frequently, items cooking in the oven are forgotten and end up charred. The shrill scream of the smoke detectors and the acrid smell of a burnt roast can be avoided by setting a timer as a reminder to check the dish baking or broiling in the oven frequently.
- Avoid trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall incidents while cooking by keeping the floor clear of any fall hazards that could send the cook to the emergency room. Also, keep pets in another room or their kennel while the chef cooks the meal. When inspecting a hot dish on the stovetop, a pet can receive serious burns and scalds to its paws, tongue, and nose.
Liquids such as water, olive oil, wines, and condiments are often used in cooking. Spillage is unavoidable. Clean up spills and splatters to avoid slip-and-fall injuries. Traffic in and through the kitchen should be kept to a minimum for optimal safety during the cooking experience.
- Alertness in the kitchen is the key to safety. An exhausted, drowsy cook needs a nap or a break. Let someone else take the tongs if the hectic week and limited sleep are too overwhelming to stay focused, alert, and safe.
- Exercise extreme caution when handling hot liquids and foods. Clear the kitchen before removing the large, steaming casserole from the oven. Hot pans, pots, serving dishes, steam, and splashes can cause severe scalds and burns.
- Set the table for safety. Position the hot soup, steaming chili, and sizzling casseroles in the center of the table. These foods are less likely to be spilled if they are out of the way of elbows. Also, put these hot items on the table before guests are seated.
A cooking fire can get out of hand in seconds. Even if the damage is limited to the kitchen area around the stove, the smoke damage can still permeate the home. If the fire department responded or multiple fire extinguishers were discharged, the fire damage cleanup is much more than a simple DIY project. A rapid response and quick cleanup from an IICRC-certified crew from SERVPRO of Palo Alto can get the holiday celebrations back on schedule. Powerful equipment, cutting-edge technology, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products give the team the advantage when tackling seasonal property damage disasters.
Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to learn more about seasonal hazards and restoration services in and around Apple Park, One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA 95014. The property damage restoration company can be reached by phone at (650) 800-3448 or by email at email@example.com.