Use caution when preparing holiday meals

Use caution when preparing holiday meals
RICHMOND—Cooks spend more time in the kitchen during colder months and holidays, and it is important to remember to cook safely.

Always have a working smoke detector in your home, advised Kevin Bartal, Virginia Farm Bureau safety coordinator. “This will provide early warning should a fire occur.”

Keep all work and oven surfaces clean of grease and clutter, and never leave cooking items unattended. Bartal noted it is important to not cook while distracted, because that can lead to items being overheated, burned or erupting in flames.

If a stove fire occurs, always evacuate everyone and call 911, Bartal said. A pan lid can be used to smother the flames, but this can put your hands too close to the flames.

“I recommend using an oversized cookie sheet to smother the flames because it keeps your hand away from the edge of the pan, but will still smother the flames,” Bartal explained.

Turn off the heat and keep the pan covered. Do not move the pan; call the fire department and allow it to cool.

Never try to move a flaming pan of grease or use water on a grease fire. Baking soda can be used to extinguish a grease fire; however, it puts your hand close to the flames. Purchase an ABC fire extinguisher to keep in your home, and place it next to an exit door so it can be easily retrieved, and you can evacuate if the fire gets too big.

“Fire extinguishers are easy to handle and can be used from a distance of more than 10 feet,” Bartal said.

Remember to “PASS” when operating a fire extinguisher. Pull the pin; Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire from a distance of 10 to 15 feet away; Squeeze the handles together to active the extinguisher; and Sweep the base of the fire until the flames are extinguished.

If an oven fire occurs, leave the door shut to help contain the flames, turn off the oven, evacuate and call 911. “Always call the fire department if you had a fire, even if you put it out yourself, in order to check for hidden fire,” Bartal added.

Media: Contact Virginia Farm Bureau’s safety staff at 804-290-1376, or Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.


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