Fall is here — and that means it’s time to cozy up inside with a delicious home-cooked meal! We love all the recipes inspired by the chilly weather, but soup season comes with a sad truth: cooking is the leading cause of home fires.
Forty-nine percent of home fires are caused by cooking equipment, and those fires account for nearly half of all home fire injuries. The statistics are startling, but we’ve put together these cooking appliance safety tips so your family can enjoy every meal worry-free.
Use your cooking equipment safely
- Supervise your appliances. One-third of cooking-related fires are caused by someone leaving their appliance unattended. We recommend keeping an eye on your cooking — you’ll be there to catch anything unusual right away. If you must use a slow cooker to prepare dinner while you’re away at work, take caution to follow the product instructions exactly to minimize your home’s safety risk.
- Choose your surface with care. Place all appliances on solid, flat surfaces. This ensures that your pressure cooker, slow cooker, toaster, and other appliances won’t tip, spill, or fall over — reducing fire risk.
- Unplug appliances that aren’t being used. This is good practice for any electronics, but it’s especially important in the kitchen where you might be using many outlets at once. Even appliances that aren’t turned on can still pose a shock risk, so it’s best to just unplug them.
- Mind the kitchen sink. When a plugged-in appliance gets wet, you run a high risk of electric shock. Err on the side of caution, and keep your kitchen accessories far away from the sink.
- Keep appliances away from other heat sources. Heat from the stovetop can damage portable appliances, causing damage that can lead to fire risk and other hazards. Avoid placing your toaster, microwave, and other kitchen accessories right next to your stovetop.
- Check cords regularly. Make sure every part of the cord is intact. Even slightly frayed cords can expose electrical wires and create a fire hazard.
Certain appliances have a bad rap for being hazardous in the kitchen. While appliance manufacturers are quick to recall products at the first sign of potential fire risk, it never hurts to practice extra caution when using specialty appliances that run for extended periods of time or cook with extreme pressure.
Proper pressure cooker usage
- Don’t overfill. Too much food can lead to dangerously high levels of pressure. Avoid filling your pressure cooker past the two-thirds line with precooked ingredients.
- Use enough liquid. Too little liquid can prevent your appliance from maintaining the proper pressure throughout cooking. Ensure there is always at least one cup of liquid in the inner pot before cooking.
- Did you close the lid? Before you press ‘start’ on your pressure cooker, make sure the lid is completely secure so that it doesn’t become dislodged or explode under the pressure.
- Keep away from the steam. The steam from your pressure cooker isn’t a nice sauna experience — it’s hot enough to cause significant burns. Keep body parts away from the lid, and always use a wooden spoon or other utensil if you need to adjust the valve.
- Wait until the cooker has completely depressurized. Avoid the temptation to take a quick peek. Depending on the settings, your pressure cooker can take an hour or more to release the full amount of built-up pressure. Attempting to remove the lid before the pressure cooker has completely cooled down can result in an explosion.
Reduce slow cooker risk
- Leave room. Overfilling is a common theme across kitchen appliances. If you fill the vessel above capacity, the food inside will create an overabundance of steam — producing an unsatisfying meal at best and a hazard at worst.
- Choose the right setting. If you plan to use your slow cooker to prepare meals while you’re out of the house, it’s important to precisely control the settings. Your best bet is a programmable slow cooker that lets you set the temperature for a predetermined length of time.
Lindow is here for you.
By following these simple safety tips, your family can enjoy the benefits of your cooking appliances without worrying about the risks. If you need a little extra peace of mind, reach out to one of our agents today to learn more about our commitment to your family’s health and safety. Happy cooking!