Thanksgiving is a time of family and friends coming together to celebrate all we are thankful for. It is also, unfortunately, a very dangerous time of the year in the kitchen; home fires spike over 250% on Thanksgiving. A kitchen fire can happen at any moment, and it’s important to be prepared for this situation.
This Thanksgiving, you can reduce your risk of a kitchen fire by following these tips, and learn what to do if a kitchen fire starts. If you have been injured in a house or apartment fire in Louisiana, you can contact one of the Louisiana fire and burn injury attorneys at Dudley DeBosier.
Every year, many cooking fires, burn injuries, and fire deaths are caused by unattended cooking. To prevent this from happening to you, follow these fire safety tips.
Check Your Smoke Detectors and Alarms
Before you get started on cooking Thanksgiving dinner, ensure every smoke detector and alarm in your house is functional, even those located away from the kitchen. Your smoke detectors’ and alarms’ batteries should be tested monthly and be replaced if any do not work properly, so they are able to alert you in case of a fire.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Place a fire extinguisher in a convenient spot in the kitchen or dining room but far enough away from any potential fire hazards that you can reach it in the event of a fire without injuring yourself. If you rent your home, the landlord is legally required to provide a fire extinguisher. If purchasing your own, opt for a Dry Chemical Class ABC extinguisher. These units are suitable for almost any type of fire, from electrical blazes to flammable liquids.
Check the expiration date of the fire extinguisher to ensure it is still functional. Make sure you read the safety label and follow the directions, so you’ll be able to quickly extinguish flames if a kitchen fire starts.
Keep an Eye on What You Are Cooking
Always watch the food while it is cooking on the stove and in the oven. When cooking food like turkey that requires a longer cooking time, check the food frequently and set a timer so it does not burn.
Someone in your home should always supervise overnight cooking in an oven or stove. In 2018, fires that occurred between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am resulted in 43% of deaths despite making up just 12% of all fires.
Be Careful with Clothing & Kitchen Utensils
Oven mitts, towels, wooden utensils, and other flammable kitchen items should not be left too close to the oven, stove, or any other source of heat.
You also should not wear loose or billowing clothing when you are cooking. If your sleeve or another part of your clothing is too close to the flame, it may catch fire easily. A mere 1% of cooking fires were started by clothing, yet 8% of those started by clothing resulted in death.
When a fire starts in your kitchen, you need to take immediate action. Here are some steps that can help protect your family and property, according to the National Fire Protection Association:
- If you have a small grease fire while cooking, you can extinguish the flames by putting the lid over the pan. Allow the pan to cool completely before removing the lid.
- As soon as you notice an oven fire, turn off the heat and close the oven door. You might be able to contain the fire using your fire extinguisher as a last resort.
- When the fire becomes uncontrollable in your kitchen, close the door as you leave and dial for emergency services. Make sure you have a clear path out, and others are not injured.
The property owner may be held liable for any injuries sustained on their property. Louisiana’s premises liability statute allows people to seek compensation if the property owner’s negligence caused injuries.
If a guest was hurt on your property, and they can show that you should have seen and addressed the problem that caused their injury, and that they might not have been injured if you had used reasonable care, you may be legally liable for their medical expenses.
If you rent a home, then the liability falls on the landlord if their negligence caused the fire. The burn injuries might be the result of landlord negligence if your building did not have a working smoke detector or if there was a blocked fire exit. When you work with a fire and burn attorney, they can help you determine liability if you believe the landlord’s negligence caused your injuries.
Louisiana’s statute of limitations is two years for personal injury and property damage claims due to a fire. Failure to submit your claim within this timeframe may mean it is dismissed. Work with an experienced fire and burn attorney at our law firm to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Thanksgiving is a fun, festive time of year. Make sure the festivities don’t turn sour by ensuring that everyone is safe and taking the necessary precautions to prevent a fire in your home.
If you have been burned or have suffered serious fire injuries during Thanksgiving weekend, Dudley DeBosier can help. You can learn more about your legal options and the damages you may get when you contact us to schedule your free consultation.
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