Cooking Safely at Home

With restaurants closed in many states and communities, we will certainly be cooking more at home. So, it’s’ a good time the remember that cooking is a leading cause of house fires – make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

60% of house fires start in the kitchen, but these fires can be prevented!  Take these simple steps to keep your family safe:

  • Don’t leave the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop area clean and free of clutter.
  • Tie back hair and loose clothing.
  • Keep a lid nearby to slide over a small grease fire and keep it on until the pan is cool–NEVER put water on a grease fire.

Frying is a leading cause of kitchen fires – stay safe AND healthy and consider baking or broiling your food instead!

Kids in the Kitchen

Cooking Matters: Modeling Kitchen Fire Safety

Protect Your Family From Fire

Protege a su Familia de un Incendio

Protect Your Family From Scalds and Burns

Find more information on kitchen safety and other prevention tips, here.

Cooking & Kitchen Safety

Cooking & Kitchen Safety

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Healthy Cooking Should Be Fire-Safe Cooking

Cooking_young_girl_with_bowlCooking is the most common cause of home fires. Foodlink, a regional food bank serving 10 counties in Greater Rochester, New York, has partnered with Prevention 1st to incorporate safety into its Cooking Matters courses that help families learn about healthy cooking.

Through support from Wegmans Food Markets and Community Health Strategies, Prevention 1st has developed a kitchen and cooking safety curriculum for the program, which serves about 500 families. Here are some of Prevention 1st’s tips for preventing fires and burns in the kitchen, especially when involving children in cooking:

Be Fire Safe in Kitchen—the top fire and burn risks and how to avoid them

Kids in the Kitchen—includes at what ages children can learn to use kitchen appliances and techniques safely

Modeling Kitchen Fire Safety—the top habits for safety in the kitchen

 

Related Articles and Resources:

Home Fire Safety Checklist

Top Safety Concerns for People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking

Safer Cooking: Frying

When is a Child Old Enough to Use the Stove or Oven? (from our expert partner Community Health Strategies)

Safe Cooking Matters

iStock_000047214164_Family_Cooking (679 x 452)Prevention 1st is partnering with Foodlink, a Rochester-based non-profit that provides food to food pantries across the upstate NY region, to incorporate safety into its cooking and nutrition education programs for families.

With the help of a grant from Wegmans Food Markets, Prevention 1st will develop kitchen and cooking safety curriculum for Foodlink’s “Cooking Matters” program, which empowers families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence to shop smarter, make healthy food choices, and cook tasty and affordable meals. Approximately 500 families participate in the program.

Prevention 1st’s “Safe Cooking Matters” will provide tips on preventing fires and burns while cooking. Nearly 60% of home fires in the City of Rochester start in the kitchen.

Related articles:

Safer Cooking: Frying

Top Safety Concerns For People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking

When is a Child Old Enough to Use the Stove or Oven? (from our expert partner Community Health Strategies)

Top Safety Concerns for People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking

Read Part 1: How Can People With Disabilities Be Safe While Living Independently?

Recently Prevention 1st convened Safe at Home: Effective Safety Training for People with Intellectual Disabilities Living Independently. Co-sponsored with the NYS Office of People With Developmental Disabilities and Monroe Community College, this community conference drew more than 100 attendees including people with disabilities, caregivers, and staff members and volunteers from community agencies, fire departments, and schools.

We asked attendees to rank the importance of 10 commonly mentioned safety concerns and to feel free to add in others. From the final list of 28 topics, fire safety was ranked the number one concern and kitchen/cooking safety was ranked number two. They’re right to be concerned: the US Fire Administration reports that cooking is the leading cause of home fires, causing 49% of such fires.

This response, combined with the statistics on safety risks for people with developmental disabilities and the concerns we had already collected from potential recipients of our proposed safety training, makes it clear that fire safety, including cooking safety, is our highest training development priority.

Encouraged by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Prevention 1st is developing an evaluated curriculum for teaching fire safety and injury prevention skills to people with intellectual disabilities (ID) who live independently.

Many local agencies and families are also eagerly awaiting an effective, evidence-based program to improve the safety of people with intellectual disabilities living independently.

Thanks to grants from the Developmental Disabilities Giving Circle of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Jane L. and Laurence C. Glazer Charitable Trust,  focus groups were held and a pilot program of in-home training sessions is underway with 30 individuals with intellectual disabilities who are new to independent living.

We’ll keep you updated on how Prevention 1st and Community Health Strategies are working together to develop that training. If you’re not already on the mailing list for our newsletter Prevention 1st on the 1st, sign up now to be notified when articles appear.

Safer Cooking: Frying

Frying typically combines heat or flame, a combustible substance like grease or oil, and a shallow, open pan. Is it any wonder that frying is the method that causes the most cooking fires? Here are some tips for safer frying:

  • Stay in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if you must answer the phone or leave the kitchen, even for ‘just a second.’
  • Always have a lid and a dry oven mitt nearby.
  • To smother a small grease fire, use the mitt to slide the lid over the pan. Turn off the stove. Leave the pan covered until it’s completely cool to keep the fire from restarting.
  • Never try to put out a grease fire with water, which can make it spread.
  • If you can’t quickly smother the fire with a lid, get out. Call 9-1-1 after you leave.

To help prevent grease fires, keep your stovetop clean of grease and periodically clean grease from the vents and exhaust hood, so it cannot be ignited by heat.

See the NFPA recommendations for turkey fryers.

Pet Safety For the Festive Season

Cat and candle
Pets and open flame don’t mix.

Most families consider their pets part of their family, and we love sharing holidays with family. Just be sure to do so safely. 

Stoves and cook tops are involved in the largest number of fires started by pets, which may jump up on them—or on you while you’re cooking—to get at food. Just as you establish a “kid-free zone” around the stove when cooking, establish one for pets. Enlist your children’s help in keeping pets away, or use a baby gate to confine them in a different area while you’re cooking. Even after turning off the burners, don’t leave tempting food on the stove top unattended.  

The American Kennel Club provides these tips, some especially for the holidays and some to remember year-round:

  • Avoid decorating with food, like popcorn or cranberry strands, because they can cause upset stomachs if eaten by your pets.
  • Be aware of the pet hazards of Christmas trees. Don’t let your pet drink the water in a natural tree stand, which can cause stomach irritation or contain poisonous plant food. Also place sparkly ornaments that can catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where they can’t be reached, because eating one can cause major problems. You may want to consider putting a gate around the tree if you have a persistent pet.
  • Some of the holiday foods that humans love can make our pets ill. Keep them away from chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat and candy.
  • Don’t leave your pet unattended around an open flame of any kind. Pets are curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace.
  • Consider flameless candles, which use a light bulb instead of an open flame. Pets have started fires when their tails overturned lit candles.
  • Don’t leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays, filtered through the glass and water, can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck.

While you’re not at home:

  • Keep pets near entrances. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.
  • Secure young pets, especially young puppies, away from potential fire-starting hazards, in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Learn more ways to Be Safe With Your Pet.

Time to Focus on Kitchen Fire Safety

October 4 – 10 is Fire Prevention Week, and this year the National Fire Protection Association is focusing on fire safety in the kitchen. No wonder: Nearly half of reported U.S. home fires start in the kitchen, and cooking is the leading cause of home fire injuries.

Check these resources to keep yourself and your family safe:

Cooking Safely at Home

Kids in the Kitchen

Cooking Matters: Be Fire Safe in the Kitchen

Cooking Matters: Modeling Kitchen Fire Safety

Protect Your Family From Scalds and Burns

Protege a su Familia de Escaldaduras (Calentamiento) y Quemaduras

Safer Cooking: Frying

For teachers, Prevention 1st also offers these lesson plans for teaching fire safety to teens with developmental disabilities, including a module on kitchen safety.