Home is the place where you are absolutely safe. The place where you can put up your legs and relax. That's what you thought. But did you know there are many hazards in the very confines of your home? Especially your kitchen.
Now, your kitchen is the place where you spend time daily to prepare food. It is the basic requirement of a home. But many things we do in the kitchen are dangerous and involve activities like cutting, chopping, working with fire, high temperatures and hot utensils and implements.
Here are some of the most common hazards in the kitchen and ways you can avoid them.
Most fires occur because the stove is left unattended. Stovetop or cooking range fires are the topmost reason of kitchen fires.
Here are some tips to avoid kitchen fires.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen always.
- When you are frying or grilling food, never leave the stove unattended. If you have to go somewhere, switch off the stove.
- When you are simmering, roasting or boiling something, check it regularly, remain at home and set an alarm for the reminder.
- Stay everything that catches fire, cleaning rags, oven mittens, plastic sheets, newspapers etc. away from the stovetop.
- Wear well-fitting clothes, not loose ones which may hang over the flame and catch fire.
- Wear nylon or synthetic clothes. Cotton clothes catch fire easily.
- Keep children and pets away from the stovetop.
- Maintain the cooking range clean and grease free.
Hot pots and pans are capable of giving you nasty Burns and cause scalding, especially children. Some tips to avoid mishandling of hot utensils.
- Stay children away from anything that is hot.
- Keep handles turned away so that there's no chance of accidental tipping.
- Maintain hot utensils on the back burner, if possible.
- Keep implements at hand always to carefully handle hot utensils.
- Inform anyone who is going to be working with the stovetop next about the heat.
- Cool food completely before putting it in the blender.
- Keep water or gravy away from hot oil to prevent splattering.
Oil and grease accumulate under your range hood and on the filter over time, and is the perfect recipe to start a grease fire. Some tips to avoid this eventuality.
- Clean your range hood regularly and keep it oil free.
- Check instructions regarding replacement of the filter and get it changed through a technician.
- Try to clean the range hood immediately after cooking or spills, so that cleaning is easier and reduces the chances of an accidental fire.
The utensil storage facility at your home is a perpetual hazard as there are many sharp edges involved which may cause nasty cuts when handled improperly.
- Keep sharp-edged utensils at the back of the storage.
- Keep knives in proper spaces.
- Do not let children or pets play near knives or scissors.
- Keep sharp implements out of children's reach.
5. Wet floors
Wet kitchen floors are a huge hazard especially if you are pressed for time. A wrong step may end up in a slip and fall or a hot spill, which are very dangerous.
- Keep mats handy and put them on wet areas.
- If you have wiped the floor, stop walking there till the floor dries and warn others too.
- Keep children away from wet floors.
- Wipe off liquids on the floor immediately.
6. Dirty sponges
Dirty sponges are the home of unwanted, disease-causing bacteria. The worst part is, you cannot see this so you don't realize how much it affects you. It spreads insidiously and causes much harm every time you use them.
- Change sponges regularly.
- Regularly microwave the wet sponge to make it bacteria free.
- Do not microwave a dry sponge as it may catch fire.
7. Household chemicals
A regular household uses many chemicals regularly for cleaning. These chemicals, though are tough cleaners, are extremely dangerous for humans or animals to inhale or consume or even touch.
- Keep the chemicals locked up at all times.
- Keep the lids tightly closed after every use.
- Read the instructions written on the bottles carefully before use.
- Don't remain in an enclosed space working with these chemicals for a long time.
- Take care to see that they don't get in your eyes or hair.
- Keep the chemicals away from children and pets.
- If you have stored the chemicals in unnamed bottles/containers, label them clearly.
- Do not store any edible items in these containers. Even after washing, they may contain traces of the chemicals, that may prove dangerous to your health.
Cutting and chopping involve working with sharp edges. Be very careful while handling knives, as a little neglect can cause a big injury.
- Always use a sharp knife.
- Keep a finger on the upper side of the knife to prevent slippage.
- Never cut anything held in your hand. Always use a chopping board, preferably a non-slip one.
- Keep the handle of the knife oil and grease free to prevent slipping.
- After use, clean up the knife and immediately return it to its storage.
- Do not let children handle knives. 9. Poor refrigerator storage - Many people tend to hoard stuff in the fridge, which eventually turns bad and may contaminate other food items too.
- Make it a habit to clear up your fridge time to time.
- Wipe down all the surfaces with a disinfectant.
- Do not keep wet vegetables inside the fridge directly. Air dry them before storage.
- Do not put vegetables inside polythene covers. They develop fungus over time.
- Store meat, fish etc in closed containers as they contaminate other foods.
10. Overloaded electrical circuits
There are many high power appliances that you use in your kitchen, like microwave, refrigerator, food processor etc. Improper connections may lead to short circuits and electrical fires.
- Make sure each plug point has a earthing outlet.
- Put in enough points so that a single point is not overloaded.
- Switch off and keep the plug disconnected after your work is done.
There are many things that are dangerous even at home. But with a little care, you can overcome most of these problems and lead a relaxed and safe life.
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