Fire safety week falls from October 7 to 13 this year. Expect your children to experience a fire drill at school and learn about fire safety techniques such as stop, drop, and roll. Even the bus drivers may take advantage of this opportunity to practice bus safety in the event of a fire. Young children will learn about the importance of leaving the home and calling 911. All of these lessons are terrific, but maybe we could expand on them to include fire prevention in the kitchen.
As the mother of four, I know how children have an interest in cooking. Allowing your children to experiment in the kitchen can be fun and educational, as well as tasty. While enjoying a Saturday afternoon milling around the stove baking cookies, frying hamburgers, or cutting up a salad, talk to your kids about kitchen safety and fire prevention. Don’t wait until they are in high school home ec classes to educate them on the subject.
All kitchens should have a smoke alarm, in my opinion. This small gadget can alert you to any smoke or trouble in your home. Although we often joke about the fire alarm being the dinner bell in the house, it really does have a purpose. Check the batteries often to make sure they are working. Change them each time you turn the clock in fall and spring.
A fire extinguisher should be in your kitchen, too. Keep your fire extinguisher handy and convenient. Let’s hope you never need it, but it is there just in case. It isn’t enough to teach your children where the fire extinguisher is located. Take the time to show them how to operate it if necessary. Of course, children should always be supervised in the kitchen, so an adult would be present in the event of a mishap, but it is never too early to learn.
Educate the kids about a grease fire on the stove. Let them know what can cause a grease fire and how to prevent it. Keep the stove and surrounding areas clean. Avoid getting anything into the burner. If something should drop or spill on the burner when the stove is off, clean it up immediately. While cooking, if food falls into the burner, turn the stove off immediately. As soon as possible, safely remove the food and clean the area to prevent an accidental fire. Do not get burned when doing this.
Your oven can also be a hazard. If your children aren’t taught to keep the oven clean and free from debris, there could be a problem. Let them know how fires begin in the oven. When cooking in the oven, avoid dropping or spilling items. If you note that some cheese has fallen into the oven from your frozen pizza, tell your child how to remedy the situation. Explain to kids why you cook certain dinners on a cookie sheet even though they come in their own container.
It is easier to prevent a fire than to put one out. Get your child fired up about kitchen safety while cooking. October 7th through the 13th is a fine time to teach children about fire safety and prevention in the kitchen.