Your Kitchen: One Of The Most Dangerous Rooms In The House
Kitchens have long been an important part of the American home. Going further back than our republic, however, they’ve been integral to numerous cultures. It’s the place where families gather to eat and converse. It’s often a place where we go to catch our breath and get organized. Back before online bill pay took off, the kitchen table was Bill Pay Central.
But for all the coziness, camaraderie, and convenience it inspires, it can also be a volatile place where accidents can happen and claims become inevitable.
To insure that your kitchen remains a place of functionality and community, we turned to our friends at Allstate. Here are four ideas to keep accidents from occurring.
Equip Yourself Against Burns And Fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires, and they account for more than 150,000 each year. Most arise due to the homeowner’s familiarity and carelessness. To keep yourself from becoming a victim of heavy fire damage, consider installing a sprinkler system. “While it costs less to install a sprinkler system when building a new home, contractors can retrofit an existing kitchen with a sprinkler system when remodeling,” Allstate notes, adding that a “kitchen should also include a fire extinguisher.”
Additionally, homeowners should be more careful in their selection and use of kitchen appliances. According to the company, “Items should be tested and approved by an independent lab and installed by a qualified electrician, taking into account manufacturers’ instructions and area building codes.” An example: appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet rather than with an extension cord, which may overload a circuit and cause a fire.
To further ensure appliance safety, make sure that each is equipped with child safety features if there are small children present in the home. “This prevents curious tots from opening oven doors and either getting hurt or inserting flammable items inside,” Allstate notes.
Last but not least on this topic, have hooks for potholders, mitts, and aprons, and keep them away from the range. These items can catch fire, and they’re very flammable once they do.
Protect From Falls And Slips.
It may seem surprising, but the National Safety Council confirms that falls account for 8.9 million visits yearly to hospital emergency rooms. This is largely avoidable if you can install slip-resistant flooring. “Good options include wood, slate, rubber, or cork rather than polished — and slippery — marble,” the site notes, adding that it’s better to use a “non-slip mat or rug, especially in front of a sink where water might splash and cause you to lose your footing.”
Knife blocks have slots for safe storage, so you don’t reach into a drawer and potentially get cut, Allstate notes. Furthermore, Kidsmartliving.com recommends “plastic dishes so children won’t break dishes and glasses.” Also, don’t skimp on lighting. Many cuts can occur as a result of overly dim lighting.
Be Ready For Anything.
Allstate’s Pauline Hammerbeck advises that “Extra planning to arrange cabinetry, counters, and appliances can make a kitchen safer.”
By installing more cabinetry, you can keep small appliances out of the way when not in use, thus reducing clutter and the probability of an accident. Other tips that Allstate recommends: “planning for sufficient ‘landing’ counters by burners to avoid carrying hot food and drinks; installing pull-out shelves and drawers for cabinetry to help you avoid searching deep into corners and straining backs; and planning for at least 48-inch aisles for two adults to pass safely.”
Your kitchen is more dangerous than you think it is. The good news: most accidents that will occur within its four walls are as a result of user error or negligence. That means that you have control over the situation. By applying the tips listed above, you can make sure that you keep that control as long as you own the home.