5 Ways To Design Fire Safety Into Your Remodeled Kitchen

Posted on: 16 October 2015

If you're planning to remodel the kitchen, safety may not be on your wish list—but it should be. Over 150,000 cooking related fires happen in the US every year. In fact, the kitchen is the source of 40 percent of home fires.

The majority of kitchen fires begin on the range. Unattended cooking, neglected food, spilled oil, and dishtowels left too close to the stove are all possible sources of ignition. Since many cooks enjoy using slow cookers and other appliances, electrical fires are also a danger.

Here are a few things to add to your kitchen design wish list.

  • Install plenty of electrical outlets for counter top appliances to eliminate the need for extension cords or power strips. Clutter from extra cords increases the chance that someone might accidentally pull the coffeemaker off the counter.
  • Plan for traffic. Make sure people walking through the kitchen won't have to pass directly in front of the range. A slip or stumble could lead to serious burns. Establish a "Cooks Only!" zone to keep bystanders (and unauthorized tasters) out of harm's way.
  • Potholders and towels should never hang above the cooktop. Most cabinet systems have options for towel racks inside the cabinet door—some even offer pull-out racks that can be placed beside the stove. Hooks for potholders should be off to one side or inside cabinet doors.
  • Have your designer (like Olson Cabinets & Woodworking Inc) place a drawer for pot lids or baking sheets close to the range. Fire contained in a cooking pot is just that: contained. Once the lid is in place, the fire will smother from lack of oxygen. If the pan has no lid, a pizza pan or cookie sheet can do the trick. Don't take the lid off again until the pan is cool to the touch—the fire may flare up again once it is exposed to the air.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. One marked A-B-C will be suitable for most household fires, including cooking fires and electrical fires. There are also class B-C extinguishers specifically made for kitchen use. These are generally smaller and easier to store. Make sure everyone who cooks knows how to use the fire extinguisher.

These safety features will be even more effective with the help of a few simple habits. Make sure the range heating elements are free of grease, and clean up spills as soon as possible. Avoid clothes with loose sleeves that can snag on handles or brush against hot surfaces. Be aware of what's going on around you when you cook, so you don't bump into family members or trip over pets.