No matter where you look these days, the use of slow cookers and crockpots are on the rise. From stews to soups and even desserts, there’s nothing better than applying that “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to preparing meals for families on the go. But did you know that while slow cookers are generally safe, we still need to be mindful of the dangers they pose.
According to NFPA, slow cookers were involved in an estimated average of 150 reported home structure fires per year from 2007 - 2011, resulting in an average of 10 civilian injuries and $2 million in direct property damage annually. In terms of accidents, it ranks up there with other smaller household appliances you may not ever think of like your coffee maker or teapot, food warmer and hotplates, and kettles.
While the chance of an accident happening while using a slow cooker or crockpot is somewhat low, our fire safety experts here at NFPA suggest some great tips to consider whenever you’re using some of these smaller appliances:
- Inspect plugs and cords to make sure they are not frayed or broken (replace if necessary), which will help keep electrical fires at bay
- Keep the crockpot and slow cooker (or other small appliance) away from the edge of the counter so hands and elbows don’t push it off the edge causing burns or scalds from the hot liquid and food inside
- Follow instructions for recipes carefully using the right amount of liquid and heat when preparing your meal to prevent overheating
So the next time you find yourself using your slow cooker (and if you’re like most of us here in New England these days, you’re probably using it regularly to ward off the cold!) follow these simple tips above to keep yourself and your family safe.
Learn more about kitchen fire safety on NFPA’s Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage. Interested to learn about this and other cooking equipment fires? NFPA’s Home Structure Fires by Equipment Involved in Ignition report can be found in our research/reports section of the website.