If you usually host the family’s holiday dinners, you know that entertaining can be chaotic. Cooking a large meal – especially if you don’t have a large kitchen – can be quite hectic, and even hazardous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home cooking fires spike on major feasting holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Luckily, with the proper precautions, you can prevent your holiday meals from turning into a major disaster.
The one thing to remember when cooking a large meal is to remain alert. When there’s a lot on your plate, it’s easy to forget that you have something on the stove. It’s very important that you remain in the kitchen while cooking, especially when frying, grilling, or broiling your food. When boiling, baking, or simmering, be sure to check on the pot or oven regularly. If remaining alert is difficult due to exhaustion or even alcohol consumption (hey, it’s the holidays!), it’s best to leave the cooking to someone else. Better safe than sorry.
If you have a small kitchen with limited space, it’s understandably difficult to find a proper place to put everything. Leaving your oven mitt on the stovetop for just a moment while you run to check on your kids or guests may seem harmless – but is it worth taking the risk? No matter your kitchen size, and no matter what the circumstance, keep anything that isn’t a pot or a pan away from the stove. If you usually light scented candles to prevent the smell of fried foods from permeating through your home, be sure to keep curtains and other flammable objects away from the flame.
In the event that a fire does occur, leave immediately, ensuring that everyone leaves with you. Also be sure to close the door behind you. Alert the authorities, and do not try to fight the fire if you do not know what you are doing. If you’re dealing with a small grease fire, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the stove. Never, ever throw water on a grease fire. If the fire begins in your oven, turn it off and leave the door closed.
For more information, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website: www.nfpa.org.