Nothing brings friends and family together like the holidays, and home-cooked meals are a centerpiece of the celebration. Ensure that everyone has a great time this season by following these kitchen safety tips.

Preventative Measures. Cooking related fires always peak over the holidays, but they can be easily avoided. Avoid loose-fitting clothing while cooking, and keep long hair tied back. Remember to plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into the outlet, never use an extension cord, since it could overload the circuit and start a fire. Test your smoke alarms to ensure that they are working, and keep a fire extinguisher for your kitchen.

Fight Fires Safely. Always keep an oven mitt and lid handy when you are cooking – just in case. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, suffocate the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan while wearing the oven mitt. Shut off the burner, don’t move the pan, and leave the lid on until the pan is totally cool. Should you have an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. If a fire starts in your microwave, unplug it and keep the door shut until the fire is totally out. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If it’s manageable, use your fire extinguisher. Otherwise, exit your home and call the fire department for help.

Avoid Burns. Use caution when uncovering covered dishes and pots. Escaping steam can cause a nasty burn. Keep children away from the stove to avoid burns from the steam and splatter of simmering vegetables and gravy. Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove, so children can’t grab them and adults won’t bump into them. Keep potholders close by and use them!

Knife Safety. Dull knives are actually more hazardous than sharp ones, since they require greater pressure to use, and a worn edge can cause the knife to slip. Keep knives sharpened, and store them in a butcher block – not in a drawer. Always use a cutting board, by placing a damp towel underneath you can keep it from moving around. Hold the item you’re cutting firmly with one hand, tucking your fingers in so they aren’t sticking out when the blade comes down. Maintain a firm grip on the knife, pointing the blade away from you as you slice.
Your kitchen is the heart of your home, especially during the holidays. But, it’s also host to a multitude of sharp pointy objects and 500-degree cooking temperatures. By observing basic rules of kitchen safety you can avoid a simple mistake turning into a serious injury. Happy Cooking!!