13 tips to keep you burn-free in the kitchen


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I am not so great in the kitchen.

I once suffered second-degree burns working at a restaurant after being told to take a plate that had just come out of the oven. Suffice it to say, that job didn’t last long.

I once placed a pan on the stove before removing the paper underneath it. Suffice it to say, I had a lot of ashy paper debris to clean up.

And I know someone who once placed a Pyrex pan on top of a hot stove.

So maybe you’re not the kitchen dummy I am, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune from burns and fires that can occur in one of the most used rooms in your home.

In honor of National Burn Awareness Week (Feb. 3 to 9), we figure now is as good a time as any to go over some safety tips to keep you cookin’ burn-free in the kitchen.

  1. The potential for scalds from burning hot water begins at the source: your water heater. On a normal water heater, you can set the temperature from 120 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity program. At 155 degrees Fahrenheit, scalding can occur in just one second. Dial your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce your risk and — bonus! — save money on standby heating costs.
  2. If you do get scalded, remove the scalding source and affected clothing. Briefly rinse the scald in cold water — don’t use lotion or ointment. Apply a dry covering to the burn that will not leave thread or other residue in the burn. Seek medical assistance for severe burns.
  3. If you’re cooking on the stove, stay alert. Most fires are caused by burners that are left unattended, says Learning Seed.
  4. If a fire starts in a pan on the stove, place a lid over the burning pan, and turn off the burner, according to the Burn Institute. Do not pour water on an oil or greased fire.
  5. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing or long sleeves when you’re cooking over an open flame.
  6. Turn pot handles inward to avoid knocking them off the stove.
  7. Use oven mitts!
  8. If you’re deep-frying, allow the food to cook evenly and fill the fryer with oil halfway.
  9. Don’t put water into a pan with hot oil. Water boils instantly in hot oil and can make the oil splash up out of the pan. Be careful!
  10. After you place a lid on a steaming pot, turn the burner down to keep the water from overflowing.
  11. When you remove the lid, be careful of the steam cloud.
  12. Use the back burners to cook.
  13. Check electrical appliances, plugs and cords for exposed wires or frayed ends.