There might not be any place in your home as potentially hazardous as your kitchen.
Look around you. You’ll likely find flame, water, electric appliances, chemicals, and sharp objects … any of which if used inappropriately and unsafely can create unsafe conditions. But don’t run out of the kitchen in fear for your life. With some proper planning and organization, kitchen accidents can be avoided.
While the convenience of a gas stove means instant flame yielding instant heat for cooking, that flame is also awfully close to flammable greases and combustible items. Be aware of the flame any time the stove is on, and never leave it unattended while cooking even for a moment. Accidents can strike quickly; so don’t leave them the opportunity. Electric stoves also lend themselves to kitchen calamity as curious little fingers — or even careless older ones — can get burned on the hot surfaces.
Water might seem harmless by itself, but a spill makes that tile floor slippery when wet so clean up any leakage immediately. Spilling some in the vicinity of an electric appliance can be a shocking experience as well. Be mindful of running water, and careful as you transport water from one place to another.
Check the cords on your electric appliances to make sure they are grounded and in good condition with no frays. Avoid the use of extension cords and make sure you have a Ground Fault Interrupter receptacle that will immediately shut off the power if there is a sudden threat of shock.
There are probably cleaning chemicals on a shelf or under the sink, and any chemical that works as a cleaner is potentially hazardous if ingested or dripped onto the skin. Make sure they are out of reach of youngsters; either up high enough where they can’t reach them or preferably behind a childproof cabinet lock, and wear gloves when handling caustic cleansers.
Always make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby, if only for the peace of mind to know it is within arm’s reach if you need it. Baking soda is also a good extinguisher if you have a grease fire and often simply placing a lid over a burning pan will put out the flame. Just be prepared — don’t panic if a pan ignites and throw it because that will spread the flaming grease. And make sure you have your local emergency numbers somewhere near the telephone.
Make sure to face knives away from you when in use just in case you slip, and make sure the handles are clean and not greasy. Don’t throw the dirty knives in the sink’s dishwater … they won’t be seen under the bubbles and can easily stab the person washing dishes.
For more expert advice, call Fahy Kitchens at (315) 735-8181 or fax to (315) 735-2829. Fahy Kitchens is located at 1908 Oriskany Street West in Utica, N.Y. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are appreciated.