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 the season comes with a sad truth we don’t like to hear: cooking is the leading cause of home fires.
48 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.
General safety tips for all kitchen appliances
- Do not leave your cooking unattended
- One-third of cooking-related fires are caused by someone leaving their appliance unattended. We recommend you always watch your cooking so you can 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.
- Place all appliances on solid, flat surfaces
- This ensures that your pressure cooker, slow cooker, toaster, and more are not able to tip, spill, or fall over, which could create a fire hazard.
- Unplug cooking appliances that are not in use
- 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.
- Keep your cooking appliances away from the sink
- When a plugged-in appliance gets wet, you run a high risk of an electric shock. Err on the side of caution, and keep your kitchen accessories far away from the sink.
- Keep your cooking appliances away from other heat sources
- Another leading cause of cooking-related fires? Placing combustible appliances too close to heat sources. Avoid placing your toaster, microwave, and other kitchen accessories right next to your stovetop.
- Check your appliances’ cords regularly
- Make sure every part of the cord is intact. Even slightly frayed cords can expose electrical wires and create a fire hazard risk.
Pressure cooker safety tips
- Don’t overfill your pressure cooker
- Too much food can lead to dangerously high pressure levels. Avoid filling your pressure cooker past the two-thirds line with precooked ingredients.
- Always make sure there is at least one cup of liquid in your pressure cooker
- Too little food can also be a problem, preventing your appliance from maintaining the proper pressure throughout cooking. You should make sure there is always at least one cup of liquid in the inner pot before cooking.
- Double-check that the lid is properly closed
- Before you press “start” on your pressure cooker, always make sure the lid is completely secure so that it doesn’t become dislodged or explode under the pressure.
- Don’t put your hands or face over the steam
- The steam from your pressure cooker isn’t a nice sauna experience — it’s hot enough to cause significant burns. Keep your body parts away from the lid, and always use a wooden spoon or other utensil if you need to adjust the valve.
- Do not open the lid until the cooker has completely depressurized
- Avoid the temptation to take a “quick peek” like you do with your oven and slow cooker. Depending on the settings, your pressure cooker can take an hour or more to release all the pressure that has built up. Attempting to open it before it has completely cooled down can result in an explosion.
Slow cooker safety tips
- Don’t overfill your slow cooker
- Overfilling is a common theme for many kitchen appliances. If there is too much food in your slow cooker, it will begin to steam too much, resulting in a safety risk (and a less tasty meal).
- Choose the right programming setting
- If you plan to use your slow cooker to prepare meals while you’re out of the house, it’s important that you can precisely control the settings. Your best bet is a programmable slow cooker that lets you set the temperature for a predetermined length of time.
We live in a great time for home cooking. As technology advances, our opportunities to craft delicious meals from the comfort of our own kitchens only continue to grow.
By following these simple safety tips, your family can enjoy the benefits of your cooking appliances without worrying about the risks. That sounds like a win-win to us!