Government figures show that over half of all accidental house fires begin in the kitchen, with the majority of those caused by people misusing electrical cooking appliances.
With the festive season now here and confirmation that up to free households can mix for 5 days across Christmas in the UK – when people will be spending a longer than normal time in the kitchen – we've compiled this safety advice blog for many people's favourite part of the home.
If you’re a tenant there’s lots of practical advice here, while landlords may want to consider the layout of the kitchen in a property and look at deploying some of the technical safety guidelines features in this blog.
Sockets and switches
Make sure that your sockets or switches are fitted at a safe distance (at least 30cm horizontally) from the sink, to prevent the risk of water coming into contact with electricity.
Undercounter fridges, dishwashers and washing machines can be troublesome to get to. Here, wherever possible, appliances should be controlled by a more easily-reachable switched fuse connection unit.
If a socket in the kitchen, or anywhere else in the house is likely to be used to supply portable equipment outdoors, it should be protected by an RCD.
The other advice however obvious it might be is to never use switches or any electrical equipment when your hands are wet. Water and electricity don’t mix.
General kitchen appliance safety
1. Don’t leave electrical appliances like dishwashers or washing machines running unattended
2. Don’t wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm
3. Check that flexible leads and appliances such as kettles and toasters are in good condition
4. Don’t try to clean or repair an appliance when it is still plugged in
5. Never try to get toast that is stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife as there are often live parts inside
6. Make sure you thoroughly clean your oven and grill – a build up of fat and grease is a major cause of fires
7. Check your plug sockets are not overloaded with too many electrical appliances as this can lead to overheating
8. Avoid storing objects on top of appliances like the microwave, which can block ventilation
9. Defrost your fridge and freezer at least once a year to ensure these appliances continue to work properly
10. Make sure you have a working smoke detector in case something does go wrong
Using your hob, microwave and fryer
During Christmas when big family dinners are being prepared and cooked, there will be lots of things in the oven and saucepans and boiling water on the hob. When it comes to safety advice a lot of it is down to common sense, but here are the most important do’s and don’ts:
Boiling Water and Hot Liquids
1. Don’t let saucepan handles hangover the side so they can be easily knocked-off or grabbed by young children – point them inwards.
2. Provide waterproof aprons at splash-prone stations.
3. Steamers, Ovens, and Other High-Risk Heat Sources
4. Stand to the side when opening a steamer, steam jacket kettle, oven, or other source of steam or hot air.
5. Never reach over a pot or piece of equipment that's steaming.
6. Wear heat-proof gloves and use long utensils to handle or rearrange food inside equipment.
1. Use vented containers, so steam can easily escape. If the food is covered with plastic wrap, puncture the plastic.
2. Mount the microwave low enough so that staff can easily reach in—not up—to remove food.
3. Treat everything as dangerously hot until proven otherwise, and wear heat-proof pads or oven mitts.
Fryers and hot fat
1. Don't overfill fryer baskets.
2. Don't fry wet foods without drying them first, and don't fry frozen foods without removing surface ice crystals.
3. Cool fat before draining it or transporting it through the kitchen.
4. Never lean over a fryer.
Most importantly, though - make sure you have plenty of Xmas fun with your nearest and dearest during these difficult times. From everyone at Sky Blue Homes, have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Look after yourselves and each other.