How to ensure it’s ‘safety first’ in the kitchen
Need to know:
- Careful design minimises risks
- Particular care needed with power sources
- Know where to turn off power and water supplies
The ‘heart of the home’ it may be, but the kitchen is also the room with the greatest number of potential hazards.
However, careful design and planning, combined with common sense usage, will ensure that this particular heart continues to beat safely.
Two basic essentials at the design stage are a non-slip, easy-to-clean floor and good lighting. In addition, arrange storage so that you can easily reach the items you use most often. Bear in mind, too, that it is safer to store heavy items lower down.
Cooking appliances in general have the most potential for danger, and chip pans in particular are a major cause of kitchen fires. The safest way to cook chips is in an electric deep fat fryer which has an inbuilt temperature regulator so that the fat doesn’t get too hot. NEVER leave a chip pan unattended. In fact, you should never leave the hob or the grill unattended, either.
It’s important to have a clear, heat-resistant surface next to the hob where you can put hot, heavy dishes as soon as you remove them from the heat.
And make sure you keep the oven, grill, hob and toaster clean because a build-up of grease and food remains can – and does! – catch fire.
Power sources need particular care and attention:
- Ensure that you have plenty of electrical sockets. Don’t be tempted to overload them – too many appliances drawing power from one socket can lead to overheating.
- If you have to use an adaptor, choose the bar type over the block adaptor.
- Position appliances close to a socket – don’t have electrical flexes trailing across the floor or over hot or wet areas.
- Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
- Don’t run cables under mats or carpets as the cable can wear through without being noticed.
- Throw away damaged cables – NEVER mend them with tape
- Turn off electrical appliances when they are not being used and service them regularly.
- If you have your central heating boiler in the kitchen, make sure there is adequate ventilation for it.
- Check that vents and flues have not been blocked.
- Make sure that you get your boiler checked annually by a CORGI-registered engineer to keep yourself safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide.
- Take the ‘belt and braces’ approach and fit a BS-approved audible carbon monoxide detector if you have gas appliances in the kitchen.
The safest form of fire protection in the kitchen is a fire blanket. Fire extinguishers are not encouraged for use in the kitchen but if you do have one, remember that water extinguishers should never be used on fat, oil or electrical fires.
Last but not least, make sure you know where to turn off electricity, gas and water supplies in the case of emergency.