How Safe is Your Kitchen?

Avoid accidents and burns with easy safety tips

AAMIR ALI

Thousands of fire incidents occur every year in which many residential structures are also involved. Majority of the fire incidents, in residential houses, have actually emanated from the kitchen, while cooking food, which had been left unattended, on the stove. In our culture, kitchen is not just a place where food is prepared, but also a multi-purpose, living room. A place where family members sit together for breakfast and dinner, to discuss, relax, watch TV, read newspapers and sometimes, even sleep. Since, the women folk usually do the cooking; it is evident that their children also follow them in the kitchen. Therefore, safety of the kitchen needs our top-most attention; otherwise the results can be disastrous.
It is recommended not to leave the kitchen, while the food is cooking, unattended for a long period of time; as this may cause a fire. If necessary, turn off the stove, before leaving the kitchen. Care should be taken that during cooking, the handles of the utensils should always be turned inwards, so that the pots donít fall, if a child tries to reach it.  Never let small children go near the stove.
Knives are very useful tools in the kitchen but they can also be very dangerous, when not used properly. Knives should always be safely stored away, when not in use. It is not advisable to put knives or sharp objects into a full sink, as anyone can get hurt. While cooking, it is recommended not to wear loose clothes and never to stretch the arms and sleeves, over the burning stove, as it can catch fire. Curtains, towels, and other combustible material should always be kept away from burning stoves.
The main sources of fuel in our kitchens are LPG, fire wood, electricity and kerosene oil. It is essential to know the proper techniques for safely operating the stoves. If fire wood is used, it is necessary to have a chimney that draws away the smoke. For kerosene stoves, it should be ensured that the burner is hot, before it is pumped. Kerosene or other inflammable material should be stored away from the kitchen. LPG gas is combustible and highly inflammable and can burn or explode if it comes in contact with a source of ignition. LPG is stored under pressure, in cylinders and can leak if improperly sealed. Awareness or knowledge of safe handling of LPG can eliminate the chances of fire or explosion. Filled LPG cylinders should not be placed near the burning stoves or source of flame. Only ISI mark gas tubes should be used to prevent leakages. Never check gas leaks using a lit matchstick. Instead, use a solution of soapy water and if there are bubbles near the valves and pipe joints, it indicates leakage. Spare cylinders should not be kept next to the cylinder in use. A gas stove should be lit when the gas is turned on full. If the burner does not ignite with a lighted matchstick, turn it off at once. Wait for a minute and repeat once again. The valve on the cylinder should always be closed, when not in use. In case gas leakage causes fire, use the regulator to stop the flow of gas. Turn-off or remove any other source of ignition. Open the doors and windows to ventilate the room. Never switch-on electricity or light the stove, if gas leakage is suspected. In the early stages of a fire, a large blanket, a bedspread or a rug can be used to physically smother the fire and cut off its supply of oxygen. This must be done quickly to avoid the cloth catching fire. Never try to lift a burning object, before extinguishing it, as you risk spreading the fire and even breaking your bones, in the process. It is advisable to use a Gas Safety Device, to prevent any leakage of gas. The safety product is easily available in the market at affordable cost and it automatically shuts-down the gas supply, in the event of leakage, thereby preventing a disaster.
To lessen the likelihood of fires occurring in your home, it is important not to overload electrical outlets. Electrical fires commonly start because of an overloaded circuit, so avoid using outlet strips or multiple-attachment plugs. Replace any appliances with damaged or exposed cords, because it can cause short-circuit. The cords of the electrical appliances should be kept as short as possible, to avoid accidents, such as tripping or knocking the appliances over. The electric cords of cooking equipment should be kept out of reach of small children. In case of an electrical fire due to short circuit, before attempting to put out the fire, dry your hands and turn-off the electricity, by shutting down the mains. Never use water, in case of electrical fires, as it will conduct electricity and give a deadly shock. 

 (Issued for the benefit of general public. Author is Coordinator Disaster Management & OSD with Div Com Kashmir and can be emailed at aamiralimir@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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