We all know home safety doesn’t begin or end with a home security system. In fact, each room in your home can pose specific challenges to you and your family’s general safety. That’s why for the next few weeks, we’ll be doing a room-by-room breakdown of what you can do to ensure your home is the safest place it can be.
For our first entry in the series, we’ll start with the kitchen. Probably the most hazardous room in the house. With sharp objects, open flames, chemicals, food and lots of appliances it can be, well, a recipe for disaster.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) almost 40% of house fires are started by cooking. And the most common accidents in the kitchen are burns.
When cooking, use the back burners of your stove if you can. Keep the handles of pots and pans turned in, so you don’t bump them and send hot food flying as you walk by. Tie back long hair (it is less likely to catch fire, plus you’ll keep hair out of your food) and roll up long sleeves. Keep track of towels and oven mitts - don’t leave them on top of the stove, even if your stove is electric.
If a gas fire occurs, don’t use water to put it out. This may sound counter-intuitive. But the water can spread the flames further. Ideally you’ll have a fire extinguisher nearby. However you can also control the fire with baking soda. If a fire gets out of hand, your SimpliSafe Smoke Detector will contact the monitoring center, but you should also call your local fire department for help.
After burns, the next most common injury in the kitchen is caused by knives. Starting with storage, it’s important to give knives their own space. Ideally, you’ll have them in a block or on a magnetic strip where you can safely and easily grasp the handle. If you keep them in a drawer, make sure they’re separated from other utensils and tools. That way you won’t accidentally grab a knife while looking for a spoon.
When using your knives, make sure to always cut on a cutting board on a dry surface. You don’t want things sliding around or slipping away.
It’s also important to keep your knives sharp. Sharper blades are actually safer than dull blades, because they require less pressure and are easier to work with.
And of course, never try to catch a falling knife.
From cleaning products to insecticides, under the kitchen sink seems to be the magical destination for a lot of non-consumable, dangerous products. That’s why it’s incredibly important to keep those products carefully locked away from curious children or pets.
Make sure that the caps to these products are always well secured and don’t throw away or peel off the label. If something bad were to happen, you’ll want to have the relevant information handy. Most importantly, if you have both ammonia and bleach, make sure that you keep them in separate locations; the mixture of the fumes from these create a toxic substance.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can use an Entry Sensor to keep track of when cupboards containing dangerous chemicals get opened.
Kitchens are notorious for having lots of electrical appliances. Probably more than any other room in your house. The blender, the toaster, the microwave, a coffee maker and a teapot, a slow cooker...the list goes on and on.
If the appliance is small - like a blender - keep it stored away when you’re not using it. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them, even if they live on the countertop. And don’t run electrical cords near the sink or the stove, if you can avoid it.
Germs are a scary thing, and unfortunately no Motion Sensor or Entry Sensor can protect you from them. According the the CDC, germs in food cause 9.4 million illnesses in the United States. Leading causes are Salmonella, Toxoplasma, and Listeria.
Germs are unavoidable, but you can minimize the danger of getting sick from them. For starters, take a look at what you use to clean your kitchen. For most of us, it’s a sponge. Sponges can get pretty grimy, and harbor a lot of bacteria by providing a warm, moist environment. Run your sponge through your dishwasher once a week to kill most bacteria. Switch out sponges every few weeks.
Next take a look at your cutting boards. You should have separate board for meats and vegetables. If you are preparing meat, make sure to properly wash your hands and all utensils that touched raw meat. This includes counters. Just a quick wipe with a towel isn’t enough the disinfect your countertops. Instead, wipe them down with antibacterial wipes.