How To Stay Safe When Cooking At Home
There are many advantages to cooking from home; you learn new skills, help your creativity to flourish by experimenting with new flavours and ingredients, save money, and eat more healthily. Cooking is also a great way to unwind after a long day at work, and it can give you the chance to bond with your partner or family around the kitchen table.
However, you should always be cautious when cooking. The kitchen can risk a wide range of injuries from various sources.
Cooking appliances are the leading cause of domestic fires and can pose other risks to health, such as burns from hot fluids or pans and knife cuts. Kitchen floors can be slippery, especially if freshly cleaned, leading to falls, which may be especially dangerous if you are holding a sharp implement.
And of course, there is also the risk of illness caused by issues such as cross-contamination, which may lead to an unpleasant case of food poisoning for yourself and those you live with.
In this article, we will address the various risks posed by a kitchen environment, and outline the steps you can take to make your kitchen a safer place for you and your loved ones.
Kitchen Safety Tips
• Remove trip hazards, such as children, pets, and clutter
• Do not run or rush
• Keep the floor dry – if you have recently mopped the floor, wait for it to dry before cooking.
• Clean your oven: burnt-on food can cause oven fires.
• Always carry knives blade down to reduce the risk of serious cuts to your chest and throat
• Keep knives sharp to prevent slips
• Keep pan handles turned in to prevent them from being knocked off the stove
• Wear sturdy footwear to prevent the risk of trips and falls
• Always wash your hands before cooking
• Clean your kitchen thoroughly
• Always check that your kitchen appliances are off before leaving to reduce the risk of fires
• Keep a first aid kit to hand
• Check your fire alarm works – ideally once a week, or once a month at minimum
- Know What To Do In The Event Of A Fire
In the UK during the year 2021-2022, cooking appliances were responsible for nearly half (45%) of all domestic fires. That’s a total of over 11,000 fires in the UK alone. The most common sources of fires in the kitchen include the oven, rings and hotplates, grills, toasters, and deep-fat fryers.
If a fire breaks out in your kitchen, you should always act as quickly as possible to avoid fire spreading. Here, we will go through the steps you should take in the event of a kitchen fire.
For Fires In Pots And Pans:
• Turn off the heat source immediately.
• Use a damp cloth to cover it. DO NOT add water – this will cause oil to sputter, potentially spreading the fire and causing burns
• Allow to cool fully before moving
For Oven Fires:
• Immediately turn off the oven if you notice a fire
• Do NOT open the oven door until the fire has stopped
For Deep Fat Frier Fires:
• Use a fire blanket or the lid of the deep fat frier to smother the flames
• The only fire extinguisher you should use is a wet chemical extinguisher: use the entire contents Never use traditional foam or powder extinguishers on oil
• Never use water to extinguish an oil fire
For Toaster Fires:
• Turn off the toaster immediately
• Smother the flames with an entire pot of baking soda
• If you are able to touch the toaster without injuring yourself, take the toaster, put it inside the oven and shut the door
- How To Use First Aid To Deal With Accidents
If the bleeding is severe, cover the wound using a medical gauze or a clean towel and apply pressure – keep applying pressure until medical assistance arrives. Elevate the wound above the heart to reduce blood flow and immediately call an ambulance.
• Wash the wound thoroughly with water and antibacterial hand wash or soap
• Squeeze out the blood for a few minutes – this will help your body to clear out any bacteria which could cause an infection
• Cover the cut – apply gauze or a blue plaster over the cut and apply pressure
• If the bleeding is heavy, raise the arm above heart level to control the blood flow
Call 999 immediately for large and/or deep burns, have black, brown, or white patches, or if the individual has inhaled smoke. While waiting for medical assistance, remove tight jewellery and clothing from the injury, cover the burn with a clean cloth or gauze, and elevate the wound above the heart. Keep under observation for symptoms of shock such as clammy skin, shallow breathing, and a weak pulse.
Electrical burns should always be treated by emergency services: always ensure the power source is turned oﬀ before touching the aﬀected person.
• Hold the burn under cool water. Do not use ice or ice water
• Remove tight jewellery or clothing from the affected area
• Avoid bursting blisters – if a blister breaks, apply an antibiotic cream
• When the burn has cooled, apply a moisturiser such as cocoa butter or aloe vera
• Apply a clean, breathable covering such as a bandage or gauze
- Food Poisoning
Food Poisoning Prevention:
• Always keep your kitchen clean. Clean your surfaces before and after cooking, particularly after handling raw meat
• Keep raw meat, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods and fruits and vegetables. Use separate chopping boards for raw meat – opt for non-porous materials such as plastic, as wood may harbour bacterial colonies
• Always cook meat to the correct internal temperature, and measure using a thermometer
• Ensure that your fridge and freezer are cooled efficiently. Your fridge should be 3°C or below, and your freezer should be -18°C or lower
Food Poisoning Symptoms:
• Stomach cramps
• Temperature of 38°C or higher
Treating Food Poisoning
Food poisoning symptoms usually start within a few hours or days after eating contaminated food. Most cases of food poisoning resolve within a week and can be treated from home.
Keep hydrated at all times and eat small meals of bland foods, such as the BRAT (Bread, Rice, Apple sauce, and Toast) Diet. Wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom to prevent the spread of infection. Wash soiled bedding and clothing on a hot wash to kill any bacteria and keep the environment clean.
By following these guidelines you can ensure that you and your family stay safe and healthy while cooking!