ThisFire Prevention Week, NFPA is teaching the public that more residential fires begin in the kitchen than any other area of the home. Electrical failures are a leading cause of home fires every year, including those fires that begin in the kitchen. In support of NFPA’s 2013 Fire Prevention Week campaign to help “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” ESFI developed its “Recipes for Kitchen Safety” resources to help the public identify and correct electrical hazards that are commonly found in the kitchen.
Among the resources offered in ESFI’s “Recipes for Kitchen Safety” toolkit is a handy checklist to help consumers take measures to prevent kitchen electrical fires before they start. Follow these easy tips to identify and correct electrical safety hazards that may be brewing in your kitchen:
- Make sure no appliances are plugged into extension cords on a permanent basis. Extension cords are designed for temporary use only. Extended use may damage the cord, creating a fire and shock hazard.
- Appliance cords should always be placed so they will not come into contact with hot surfaces. Cords can melt or burn from excess heat, which can expose wires and lead to fire or electric shock.
- Regularly inspect cords to determine if they are cracked, frayed or otherwise damaged. Damaged cords may have exposed wires that can be a fire or shock hazard. If any of your cords are damaged, have a licensed electrician replace the cord or replace the equipment.
- Make sure your home is protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) technology. AFCIs are advanced circuit breakers that provide greater fire protection, and could prevent an estimated 50% of the electrical fires that occur every year.
- Make sure kitchen outlets are protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs provide protection from electric shock in area where electricity and water are in close proximity.
- Test AFCIs and GFCIs monthly. Both can stop working without signs of failure, so regular testing is necessary to ensure they are working properly. (Supporting toolkit documents, “All About AFCIs” and “Get Informed about GFCIs” provide more information on these important devices as well as testing instructions.)
Following these safe electrical practices in tandem with safe cooking practices will help reduce the disasters that occur in your kitchen. Unfortunately, that does not include any culinary disasters and failed recipe attempts that come out of your oven. You’re on your own in that department!
Visit NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website for more information on the “Prevent Kitchen Fires” campaign featuring a variety of resources for all audiences including teachers,firefighters, and families. You can even test your fire safety knowledge with the “Fire Prevention Week Quiz!”
Also visit www.esfi.org for more electrical and fire safety information and resources including the “Recipes for Kitchen Safety” checklist and illustrated tips sheets to help you properly maintain your smoke alarms.