7 Smart Kitchen Safety Tips for the Holidays
Accidents in kitchens spike during the holiday season – especially at Thanksgiving, with a nearly 200% spike in reported fires. It’s a time of year when families might spend more minutes than usual prepping, cooking and baking. From fire safety to personal safety, there’s a lot to keep in mind, so be prepared this holiday season with these simple tips.
1. Make sure the electrical outlets in your home are up to code.
Whether it’s your first time hosting the holidays, or the first season celebrating in your new home, you’ll be using your electrical system to the max. Make sure your kitchen outlets are upgraded to GFCI, and check all of your cords on your small appliances to make sure they’re in good shape.
2. Buy a fire extinguisher. And know how to use it.
This might seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many homes aren’t equipped with an extinguisher for small kitchen fires. Best to keep one on each level of your home, and for the one stored in your kitchen, keep it in a convenient and easy to access space. Ours is beneath the kitchen sink.
3. Know how to prevent cooking fires – on the stovetop, in the oven and in the deep fryer. Here are more details.
- Be alert and present, whether you’re cooking on the range, in the oven or in a smaller appliance.
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep rags and paper towels away from the range.
- When frying on the stovetop, reserve an extra container of baking soda in your pantry to battle a sudden grease fire.
- If you’re deep frying a turkey, set up your cooking station outdoors 10+ feet away from your home and deck, keep a fire extinguisher outside with you, and never leave the fryer unattended. Be cautious when it comes to dropping in the turkey and removing it, as oil that spills from the fryer onto the burner can cause a fire.
- And for what it’s worth, when you light a candle somewhere in the house (on the mantle, in the bathroom, on the dining room table), don’t forget about it!
4. Monitor running appliances.
Though less common, it’s advisable to never leave home while your dishwasher is running – and during the holidays at our house, we’ve been known to run it twice a day. You should also time the wash and dry cycle of your laundry for daytime hours, lest a fire breaks out during the night when everyone is asleep.
5. Sharpen your knives.
Kitchen knives might be an afterthought, but it’s actually more dangerous to operate dull knives. Familiarize yourself with all knife sharpening methods, and have well tuned instruments this season.
6. Get clean.
Clean your oven before and after heavy-duty holiday use. Many ovens have a self-cleaning feature, but you can also use a hand steamer to loosen built-up grease on the walls, window and floor of the oven. If you’re using a countertop convection oven, follow the same protocol to lessen the chance of fires.
From a personal cleanliness perspective, remember that flu season is already a hot issue, so in doing what you can to keep your person clean and healthy, make sure you keep your home well sanitized too. Disinfectants are easy to come by, and easy to make as well (here’s a DIY tea tree oil disinfectant that I use in my home). Remember to wipe down cabinets, countertops, and the sink regularly, especially when cooking.
Regardless of your menu this holiday season, be in the know on how to stay healthy with these food preparation tips.
7. Be babyproofed.
It might be an afterthought if you’re without young kids, but if you’re entertaining guests who do, make them feel safer with a little baby proofing. Move any cleaning supplies in base cabinets to a higher shelf, and make sure pots and pans on the stove have the handles turned to the sides or angled back towards the wall, so they can’t easily be grabbed and knocked or pulled down.
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