Cooking Safety

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Every year people using barbecue grills start hundreds of fires. The Uniform Fire Code, adopted by the City of Tempe, prohibits grilling on patios and balconies in multi-family complexes. In single family residences, move the barbecue grill out from under patios. If using charcoal grills, do not use gasoline as fuel; use charcoal lighter fuel only. Do not add more fuel after the coals have already been lit. Most importantly, keep children away from the grill.

The kitchen is often one of the busiest and most dangerous places in the home. Sixty five percent of all residential fires are related to the kitchen. More injuries occur in the kitchen than any other room in the home. Here are some simple tips to help keep your kitchen safe:

• Turn handles inward when using pots and pans on the stove.
• When cooking, wear tight fitting clothing and shirts with short sleeves.
• Do not leave food unattended on the stove.
• Clean vent filters regularly.
• Place hot dishes on center of table or counter, not close to the edge.
• Do not store snack foods above the stove as this may encourage climbing.
• Do not allow electrical cords to dangle over the edge of counter or table.
• Keep items that catch fire easily away from stove, toasters and hot plates.
• Use only appliances which have a laboratory testing label, i.e.; UL or FM.
• Do not overload electrical outlets.
• Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.
• Keep stoves clean and free of grease and oil.
• When cooking in a microwave, after the food is cooked stir and let sit for a few minutes.
• Popcorn can burn easily in a microwave so follow package directions carefully.
• Do not cook food in metal containers in the microwave.

In case of a fire:
• Cover the pan or fryer with a tight fitting lid. Slide the lid over the fire from the side. Turn the appliance off.
• Do not pour water onto a grease fire.
• Do not carry the burning pan or fryer to the kitchen sink or outdoors.
• Grease fires can be put out with a fire extinguisher. Keep a minimum 2A10BC multi-purpose fire extinguisher for your kitchen.
• If a fire starts in a microwave, close the door and unplug the cord.
• If the fire spreads rapidly, get out quickly and call 9-1-1.

To treat a burn:
• Cool a burn/scald with cool running water. Get medical attention immediately if burn area is charred, red and blistered.
• Do not put butter, ointments or other types of creams or liquids on the burn.


Deep Frying Safety

Deep fryers can be dangerous because many units easily tip over spilling gallons of hot oil. If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may also hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit. With no thermostat controls, the fryers also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion. Finally, the sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards. 

Safety tips:

  • Follow the fryer instructions.
  • Only deep fry turkeys up to 12 pounds.
  • Use peanut, canola or safflower oils.
  • It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to heat the oil depending on the outside temperature, wind and weather.
  • Slowly lower the turkey into the oil and maintain an oil temperature of 350ºF. Fry the turkey for three to four minutes per pound or about 35 to 42 minutes for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.
  • Deep fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
  • Never use  fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix and water causes oil to spill over leading to a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.