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Kitchen Safety

Slips, falls, burns, cuts, fire hazards . . . your kitchen is a likely area for accidents.  Use these kitchen safety tips to keep your space safe and functional.

Kitchen Safety

General Kitchen Safety Tips

  • Post numbers for local emergency services, poison control hotlines and your doctor’s office in a place where family members, guests and babysitters can find them.
  • Eliminate hazards that may cause trips or falls, including stray step stools and storage boxes. Have children and pets stay in a different room while you are cooking.
  • Clean spills promptly, including stray ice cubes that leave a puddle when melted.
  • Do not wear long necklaces or loose bracelets when cooking. They can loop over pot handles and pull pots and pans off the cooktop.
  • Keep all handles pointed to the inside or rear of the cooking surface so they can’t be knocked off with an accidental bump or pulled down by small children.
  • Understand how to use kitchen appliances and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Contain electric cords so they won't dangle from the counters where children or pets might pull the cord, causing the appliance to fall on top of them.
  • Know your lifting limits, respect them and invest in alternate solutions. For example, if carrying a pot of boiling pasta to the stove is too much, use a pasta strainer. Leave the water to cool on the cooktop for safer transport.
  • Know your microwave’s power. Scalds and burns happen because people accidentally overheat foods in the microwave. Warn all users of the dangers and exercise caution when testing the temperature of microwaved food and beverages.
  • Practice knife safety:
    • Cover knives stored in a drawer to protect fingers from cuts.
    • If you store your knives on a magnetic strip, make sure the magnetic force is strong enough to hold them and that the strip is fastened tightly to the wall above a counter. Never mount your knives where they may fall on someone.
    • Always wear sturdy shoes when working in the kitchen. If you do drop a knife, your feet are protected.

Fire Extinguishers

A fire extinguisher is a must for every kitchen. Match the extinguisher to the type of fire for the best results. Extinguishers labeled with the letters A, B or C denote the type of fire they fight.

Class A extinguishers tackle fires involving paper, wood, textiles or plastics. The material inside smothers the fire, extinguishing it by cutting off oxygen.

Class B extinguishers end fires involving flammable liquids, like grease, oil, gasoline and paint. They use two kinds of materials to eliminate the flames: one to smother the fire and one that creates a chemical reaction to stop the burning.

Class C extinguishers handle electrical fires, covering them with non-conductive materials.

Each extinguisher has a number rating, in addition to the class. The number rating indicates what size fire it can handle. Some extinguishers may handle Classes A, B and C, but they will have a larger size rating for one type than for another. Read our Fire Extinguisher Buying Guide to learn more about making the right selection for your kitchen.

Practice Fire Safety in the Kitchen

  • Do not store cooking utensils or dishtowels too close to the range.
  • Do not wear loose or draped clothing or synthetic fabrics that could catch fire quickly when cooking near open flames.
  • Do not leave food cooking unattended.
  • Tie back long hair.
  • Use hot pads to protect surfaces and prevent scorching and fire hazards.

Ground Fault Current Interrupter Outlets (GFCI)

Outlets in in the kitchen, especially those near the sink and water lines, should be GFCI outlets. These outlets work by monitoring current flow to protect people from electrocution.

Most local codes now require these outlets in new construction. Older houses may need retrofitting. Use the “test” button monthly to ensure proper function.