6 Cooking Safety Tips for the Holidays
‘Tis the season of family feasts. From turkey to mashed potatoes to apple pie, there are many mouth-watering favorites to prepare. But, the holidays also bring a spike in kitchen fire incidents. For safe and stress-free meal preparation, stick to these safety tips.
Clean Your Appliances
Over time, grease and food bits can collect in your cooking appliances and catch fire. So, before the holiday cooking begins, give the essentials a good clean. Most units have a self-cleaning feature, but you’ll need to remove the racks and wash those by hand.
As a rule of thumb, repeat this process at least every 3 months. After a messy meal, cut through grease stains with a mixture of baking soda and water. The solution can also be used to clean the stovetop, which should be done after every use to avoid a crusty buildup.
Never Leave Cooking Unattended
Preparing for a feast is no small task. You’ll likely want to venture away from the roasting potatoes to set the table or just put your feet up for a while. If you do, always leave someone to keep an eye on the food. Otherwise, ingredients overflowing on the stovetop or in the oven can start a fire without anyone realizing until it has spread.
It’s also a good idea to set a timer on your phone whenever you leave something in the oven. We recommend setting it for less time than the recipe calls for; everyone is working with different ovens, and a burning dish is another fire hazard.
Establish a Kid-Friendly Zone
Kids love to help out in the kitchen. But their presence can be hazardous to both them and the cooks. Grabbing hot pots or pans, knocking over dishes, or getting too close to an open stove are the things of most parents’ nightmares. To prevent any accidents from happening, it’s best to designate a kid-friendly zone.
Set up a table away from the cooking and give them plastic tableware so they don’t break anything or hurt themselves. Most importantly, an adult show always be supervising the children to keep curious hands out of danger.
In a crowded kitchen, full of in-progress dishes and people, it’s easy to brush your hand against a pot and get a painful burn. Cooking on back and central burners is a simple way to avoid this.
While you’re at it, keep any flammable items like oven mitts and food packaging away from the stovetop. Avoid loose clothing and wearing your hair down as either could catch fire when you’re working near the burners.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Device Nearby
Even when you’re prepared, accidents happen. Having a fire extinguisher nearby will bring peace of mind— just make sure you know how to use it. It’s pretty intuitive, but you can also watch an online tutorial to make sure you understand the process. Or, if you’d prefer an easier solution try a First Alert EZ Fire Spray. The aerosol can is familiar and puts out common household fires. Whichever option you choose, make sure the whole family knows where it’s stored and how to use it.
Check Smoke Alarms
Test your smoke alarm in the days before you start cooking. Most devices have a test button which you can hold down. If it works effectively, it should emit a piercing sound. Going forward, test the alarm on a monthly basis to ensure an extra layer of protection, no matter the season. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, it might be time to change the batteries. Even if the device seems to work fine, it’s good practice to change batteries every year.
For a safe and peaceful holiday, prioritize a few kitchen safety steps. With these precautions, from preparing the appliances to creating a kid zone, the feast will come together without a hitch.