BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For people making hot meals, you need to be careful. Doctors said cooking is the main cause of home fires any time of the year and is also very common on Thanksgiving. Since there is a higher risk of injury and death from kitchen fires during the holiday, we talked to an expert about prevention.
“The kitchen is dangerous, the most dangerous room in the house on any day of the year,” said Dr. Tracee Short, Medical Director of the Baton Rouge General Regional Burn Center. “And now you throw in all of the people, all of the family that’s gathered in the kitchen, all of the courses and all of the entrées that are needed to be fixed, and it only heightens. Unfortunately, this is one of those holidays that many people are going to find themselves in need of burn care.”
She’s emphasizing that everyone knows the plan in the kitchen. If you’re about to start frying your turkey, putting something in the oven or food on the stovetop, tuck your kids away. Short said that’s a good time to bring out the iPad to give your kids something to do so they’re not running around the kitchen.
If you’re frying a turkey, she said to make sure it’s thawed and dry. Make sure the boilers are far away from the property so there’s not a grease fire.
Check to make sure all the crockpot and other cords are not hanging below the countertop. That way you don’t have to worry about a toddler or adult running past it and snagging the cord.
Short said the most common accident involves the microwave. If your kids are heating up food, make sure there’s an adult helping them get it out of the microwave. She has seen many come into the burn center during the holidays because of this.
Why is that?
Our elderly and children have thinner skin, which means it doesn’t take as much heat to cause an injury. Something can be between 130° to 160° to burn your skin.
Don’t forget to get a good oven mitt. She recommends using a good silicone oven mitt, not a moist dish towel.
When should you go in for a burn?
If a kitchen accident happens and you’ve been burned run it under cool water. Don’t grab ice. Burns can be very painful, so you might end up at an urgent care or emergency department. If you think it’s serious, go to the closest health facility and they can make a referral to the burn unit. The burn unit is open 24/7.
No matter how much you try to plan accidents happen which is why prevention is key.
“I think the biggest thing is to prepare for the unexpected,” said Short. “I know it’s difficult to do. But make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen that way if a small grease fire breaks out, you’re not panicking, you know where everything is, you pull out your fire extinguisher, you pull out a cookie sheet, you smother it. Do not add water.”
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