Kitchen Safety

When the great George Bernard Shaw declared in Man & Superman, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food”, he might have been hamming it a little (pardon the pun) since, in our book, family comes first. But, okay, food is up there in the charts.
On the other hand, to build on Mr Shaw’s sentiment, we believe there’s no place more hazardous in the home than a poorly protected kitchen. For instance, most home fires start there, as do many other mishaps – and most cases of food poisoning definitely originate in the kitchen! And just to make things more challenging, the more exciting the activity in the kitchen, the greater the temptation for others to be in there. Know what do we mean? Mmm, smell those cookies!
So, there are two key aspects to safety in the kitchen – those connected with food hygiene and those related to accident hazards, notably sharp and hot objects. And while many of the safety precautions you can take boil down (punning again!) to commonsense, the trouble is that in the heat of the moment (all right, we’ll stop now) they are easily overlooked.
We start with a four golden rules that can help eliminate many of those risks:
1.      Not allowing anyone in the kitchen, apart from the chef, while cooking is under way.
2.      Pointing every blade and cooktop pan handle away from you.
3.      Washing hands (and drying on a paper towel) and utensils in hot soapy water at every stage of food handling/preparation.
4.      Returning items (including leftovers) to the refrigerator and quickly as possible.
Of course, there are a lot more things you can and should do to make your kitchen a safer place for all. We definitely recommend checking out the subject on the website of the Home Safety Council.  Plenty of other useful safety tips there as well.
But, with the best will in the world, accidents do happen and, in the kitchen, they tend to be of a more severe nature than perhaps elsewhere in the home. Fire is undoubtedly one of the biggest risks and the key thing to know is that if it’s a grease or oil fire, DON’T put water (or use a water-based extinguisher) on it. If you can, place a lid or cookie sheet on the pot (and leave it there) and/or spray it with a dry chemical fire extinguisher, in both cases switching off the heat if possible. If these solutions are unavailable to you or it’s not doused in half a minute, call 911.
If clothes catch fire, follow the Home Safety Council’s “Stop, Drop, Roll and Cool” advice: drop quickly to the floor, bring your hands over your chest and roll back and forth to extinguish the flames. With minor burns and scalds, cool the area under running water, then cover gently with a sterile dressing. Don’t use lotions and don’t touch the injury. If in doubt, seek medical help.
Dealing with the other kitchen related hazard – food poisoning – depends on the severity of the upset.  Mild cases will clear up by themselves after a couple of days – just drink plenty of clear, still liquids. If the victim is a child or symptoms are severe, again seek medical advice.
Your kitchen should be a source of pleasure and enjoyment. A few simple steps will ensure it stays that way. And if things do go wrong try to keep your cool so you can take appropriate action but please don’t think you can cope when you can’t. Call in the experts.

July 21st, 2015 by Goodwill Financial