Safety precautions to prevent kitchen flare-ups
Kitchen accidents are common due to the constant handling of flammable materials around hot appliances and open flames. Kitchen fires are typically caused by flare-ups during food prep or from oven, burner or electrical and gas connection defects. But most of these accidents can be prevented; the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
When working in the kitchen, always wear close-fitting clothing with short or tightly rolled sleeves. Loose-fitting, baggy clothing, especially hanging sleeves, may drape into pans or open flames. Always tie back long hair, and refrain from using flammable hair products.
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During Food Preparation
- Keep hot pads, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging and towels away from any heat source.
- Never leave your cooking unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off all heat sources.
- Use the lowest heat setting possible that will cook food thoroughly and safely.
- Do not place metal or foil in a microwave oven; it will cause sparking and can lead to a fire.
If you notice sparks, turn off the microwave immediately, unplug it and report the incident to your supervisor.
- Unplug portable appliances when they are not in use.
- Always keep the vent-hood fan on while cooking on a range.
- Clean up spills, grease and messes on the range and in the oven immediately.
- Exercise caution when lighting ovens with gas ranges that do not have a self-lighting feature.
At the End of Your Shift
- Check burners, ovens and appliances to make sure they are off before leaving.
- Clean up all spills.
In the Event of a Fire
If a fire occurs, turn off the gas or electricity fueling the fire if you can do so safely. If the fire is in a pan on the range, turn off the appliance and cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames. Make sure you are wearing an oven mitt. To keep the fire from restarting, do not move the pan, and leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool. When these methods do not work:
- Use a fire extinguisher, baking soda or a fire blanket to put out the fire.
- Sprinkle the baking soda on top of the pan.
- Spray the fire extinguisher in a sweeping motion while standing at least three feet away from the flames.
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