Oven fires are surprisingly common and not something that happens only in movies. There are many mistakes that can be made by cooks that potentially result in a flaming oven. You don’t necessarily have to be a scatter-brain to accidentally start a kitchen fire. Learning how oven fires can be prevented could be more important than you think. The large majority of fire disasters happening in the kitchen have the oven as the main ignition source.
Even if you don’t use the oven very frequently, ensuring proper appliance maintenance can save your kitchen from an oven fire. The danger shouldn’t be underestimated as even the smallest kitchen fire can become impossible to control by yourself. Precautions need to be taken while cooking but it’s just as important to prepare yourself before using the oven. Check out the most effective methods for preventing oven fires.
1. Never Leave the House if Something’s Cooking in the Oven
It’s essential to attend the cooking process because it’s a sure way to detect any strange thing happening that can potentially start a fire. If you’re not at home, you won’t be able to sense any burnt smell or hear any strange sound. Being alerted by potential problems with the oven cooking process is very important to let you act fast if something goes wrong.
Even cooks that are careful about leaving the house when the oven is in use can still get distracted with other tasks and forget about the running oven in the kitchen. This is understandable if you’re in another room working on other things that need to be dealt with quickly. However, cooking should take priority of your attention to avoid leaving the oven unattended.
2. Get a Smoke Alarm
While installing a smoke alarm by itself won’t do much for preventing a fire, it’s still a good measure to consider. Some models can also detect carbon monoxide, another important danger to be aware of. If you’re going to keep your kitchen protected, you might as well invest in a reliable smoke alarm that’s correctly installed and maintained for your peace of mind. Make sure the smoke alarm is mounted further away from kitchen appliances to reduce the risk of false alarms.
Check out this combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector on Amazon.
3. Keep Greasy Food Covered
Splattering grease has the potential to start a serious oven fire if you’re not careful. This is also a problem when it comes to using a regular stovetop. Preventing grease from splattering inside the oven will also simplify the cleanup process after the cooking is finished. It’s a smart idea to get a cover or dedicated splatter guard. That small flame from the grease can transform into a small fire in no time.
4. Don’t Use the Oven for Heating
This is quite obvious for some people but never consider maintaining the oven on for heating purposes. No matter how easy or convenient it may seem, this is a really inefficient process to stay warm while the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning can be significant. Electric ovens are not designed for this purpose. They might overheat and start a fire.
5. Watch Kids and Pets Closely During Oven Cooking
Kids running around in the kitchen and playing with buttons can pose a danger if you’re using the oven. You need to be careful with pets as well because they can be a distraction and increase the likelihood of making mistakes such as spilling greasy pans. The most important aspect to remember when using the oven is to always pay close attention to your surroundings. If you don’t leave the oven unattended, it’s more likely that you can prevent children or pets from wandering around in the kitchen.
6. Get a Dependable Timer
Checking the time on a wall clock might seem fast when you’re trying to figure out cooking times but it’s easy to become distracted and forget something in the oven. This is why a kitchen timer can be considered a lifesaver. It allows you to multitask efficiently without worrying that you’ll forget about the cooked food in the oven. Using your phone’s timer is a decent solution but getting a dedicated timer tool that’s sufficiently loud and clear would be more practical.
Take a look at this classic kitchen timer on Amazon.
7. Check the Cooking Temperature
This is a more important aspect when frying foods but it’s a solid preventive method for kitchen fires. Instant-read thermometers are handy to see whether the pot reaches the oil’s flash point that could be dangerous as it makes greasy splatters ignite. Be mindful of the temperature when frying foods.
8. Have an ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Keeping a fire extinguisher in your home represents a solid preventive way to avoid all kinds of fires, not just those happening in the kitchen. When it comes to oven fires specifically, it’s worth getting the right kind of equipment for the job. The wrong type of fire extinguisher can fail to contain even small fires or be simply useless. Electrical and grease-caused fires are best handled with the help of ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers. Be sure to have one nearby.