When thinking of the cause of a kitchen fire, it is common to think of cooking. But not all kitchen fires start because of cooking hazards. Non-cooking related fires commonly involve refrigerators, freezers or dishwashers. The following tips can help prevent non-cooking related fires from occurring in your kitchen.
- Plug all kitchen appliances, including microwaves, toasters and coffee makers, directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord as it can overheat or overload the circuit and cause a fire.
- Be sure to only use properly grounded outlets for larger appliances. Have the wall outlets and circuits checked by a qualified electrician to make sure they are properly grounded.
- If a standard 2-prong outlet is present, have a qualified electrician replace it with a properly ground 3-prong wall outlet. Do not use an adapter.
- Plug your refrigerator into its own individual outlet that matches the rating plate on the appliance. This can help prevent overloading wiring circuits, which could cause a fire from overheated wires. Check with a qualified electrician to make sure the outlet properly supports the appliance.
- Repair or replace any power cords that become frayed or otherwise damaged. Never use a cord that shows cracks or other damage.
- When moving kitchen appliances, be aware of power cords. Rolling over or pinching power cords can damage them.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use.
- Keep your stove and oven clean. Built up food splatter or grease can later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
- Check and clean stove hoods and filters regularly. If your stove hood vents externally, make sure insects or birds do not build nests or otherwise impede air flow through it.
- Never store flammable liquids near appliances. Keep gasoline, paint thinners and other flammable liquids or materials in Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed containers and out of your house.
- Never use a kitchen oven to heat your home. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it can also give off toxic fumes.
What to do if a kitchen fire flares up
By exercising caution at all times in your kitchen, you can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. But if a fire does flare up, you need to be prepared.
- Your safety should always come first. If you are unsure about whether it is unsafe to fight the fire, leave the scene, call 911 for help, and let the fire department control the fire.
- If a small fire flares up and you are going to attempt to extinguish it, call 911 for help first. A fire may grow out of control more quickly than you anticipate. It is safer to have help already on the way.
Using a fire extinguisher