Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for kitchen fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Almost three times more fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. The holiday season is a bustling time of year in most kitchens. The host is preparing the bird in the oven and maybe frying something on the range. Guests file in, children play, and for minutes the stove goes unattended as the cook takes a call. Unfortunately, this familiar scenario is the perfect recipe for a dangerous kitchen fire. "Most of these fires involve the kitchen stovetop," says Lorraine Carli of the NFPA. "The majority of the cooking fires occur because of unattended cooking." However, residential-kitchen fire safety has come a long way since the days when smoke alarms and fire extinguishers were the only available firefighting tools. With some know-how and the right equipment, your holidays can be safer than ever before. --Sal Vaglica, thisoldhouse.com
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Retrofit Your Hood. Williams-Pyro's Stovetop FireStop is a dry-chemical fire extinguisher in a can. The 12-ouce cans use magnets to attach to the underside of your hood and release their powder once a stovetop fire's flames reach the FireStop. Stovetop FireStop runs about $55 for two. Twenty First Century Fire's Guardian III system is magnetically held to the underside of the range hood, over gas or electric stoves. Its sensors will detect a fire and the system will discharge a potassium acetate-based chemical for 90 seconds to ensure the fire is out, while simultaneously shutting off the power to the stove. The Guardian III system comes complete with professional installation and costs about $2,000.
Smother the Fire. The Kovenex kitchen blanket is decidedly low-tech in its approach. Cover a skillet fire with this fabric (made of the same material found in firemen's protective gear) to smother it safely; as it puts out the fire, the blanket also cools the flames by letting hot vapors through. The fabric is lightweight, reusable, and safer than a fire extinguisher, which in inexperienced hands can spread a fire. Kovenex kitchen blankets run about $45.
Know the Oil's Limits. While some electric range burners can reach 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, cooking oils can ignite when heated past 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Many kitchen fires start when the cooking oil catches fire in the pan. To combat these fires, the NFPA recommends turning the knob to cut off the heat source and putting a lid over the fire to smother it. "Take the cover for that pan out ahead of time," says Carli. "In the event there is a fire, you'll have it ready."
For our full list of Stovetop Fire Prevention Tips go to thisoldhouse.com
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