4/18/2014 - Cooking safely this Easter Sunday
One of the more widely celebrated of all the Christian holidays, Easter Sunday is this coming weekend. While the day's festivities often involve attending church functions as well as decorating eggs in pastel shades of purple, pink and blue, it's traditionally capped off at the dinner table among good food, friends and family.
Unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving, though, where turkey tends to be the main course, ham is the overwhelming meat of choice, based on various polling data. And while the cooking process may not be as involved, it still requires a heating source for it to be properly prepared - which, when not careful, can result in a kitchen fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, dinner preparation is one of the more common sources of homeowners insurance losses. In fact, roughly 43% of all reported home fires between 2007 and 2011 stemmed from cooking equipment, in addition to approximately 40% of fire injuries and 12% of direct property damage.
With this in mind, the NFPA has a list of tips and recommendations that are a good idea to follow when preparing Easter Sunday's meal. For example, one of the most important things to do while pots are on the stovetop and ham, turkey or roast beef is in the oven is to remain in the kitchen. It may be tempting to mingle with loved ones, but when several burners are on, it's critical that there be someone there to watch everything so that water doesn't boil over or something more serious occurs.
Additionally, cooking equipment - be it oven mitts, utensils, food packaging and preparation items - should be kept in an area where they can't catch on fire. Based on NFPA statistics, most cooking-related fires originate from the burners used for heating and boiling purposes.
For more tips on cooking safety and what to do in the event of a fire, NFPA has a downloadable document that is a good idea to run through for a refresher course.