Preventing kitchen fires
(Slightly modified from Judy’s email:)
I’m still recovering from last night’s adventure. The
fire damage was nothing (one indoor grill, two pot holders, one burner
cover) compared to the aftermath -- the stench of burnt plastic and the
fine dust from the fire extinguisher. I’ve been running fans all
day on exhaust and it’s still difficult to breathe in the house.
We recently had a small kitchen fire (fortunately we suffered only
smoke damage). We learned several lessons that could save you from
smoke damage, a destroyed kitchen, or a lost house.
Judy (aka Sparky)
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, get one.
If you mount your fire extinguisher in a wall bracket, make sure you can
easily remove it from the bracket.
If you haven’t checked your fire extinguisher lately to see that
it’s still fully charged, do so today. Check it annually.
Read the instructions today, because you will not have time during a
fire. Re-read them annually. The instructions are printed on the side
of the canister, but you won’t even think to look. And
you’ll be wearing the wrong glasses.
Don’t hesitate to call the fire department. They always know what
to do. (I called them between the 3rd spray, which still didn’t
put out the fire, and the 4th, which did.)
Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. (A few seconds more and my
kitchen would have been destroyed. There wasn’t enough smoke to
set off the smoke detectors, so if I hadn’t been in the room, it
would have been a disaster rather than an inconvenience.)
Have smoke detectors. Check them at least annually (we check monthly;
it only takes a minute). Although ours didn’t go off for this
small fire, they can still save your life when things go really bad.
If you must put an electrical appliance such as, oh, let’s say an
indoor grill, on your stovetop, be sure that you turn on the appliance
and not the burner beneath it. (OOOPS!)
If you’re too tired to cook, do take out.
Last updated: 10 July 2005.