Careful in that kitchen

Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Deborian Snoonian, senior editor of “This Old House Magazine,” said last week on the “Today Show” that on Thanksgiving Day fires on top of the stove take place three times more than at any other time of the year, causing one half billion dollars worth of damage.

She said this situation is most likely to occur during the holidays, because guests and family members in your home and in the kitchen cause a lot of distraction.

Oven fires can take place, too, and are equally dangerous. I am a living witness — and narrowly missed being a dead one — that if a person is not educated on what to do when one takes place, it could possibly cost you your life.

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Snoonian gave important information on stovetop safety and named a few safety devices that you can use to put out stove op fires and prevent them.

However, I would like to share with you what happened when I panicked without thinking.

One morning about 10 years ago, I was using the broil element in my oven and had set the oven on 350 degrees to get it at the right temperature for my food. In about five minutes I began to hear a popping sound.

I looked in the window of the oven and saw a little flame of fire coming out of the broil element. I started throwing water in the oven. When it didn’t do any good, I called the fire department.

I was embarrassed when the fireman looked in the oven, scolded me, and said, “Lady you are lucky to be alive because that oven could have blown up in your face and you would have been history. You should never throw water in an electric oven.”

He then went to my circuit box and simply switched off the circuit breaker that fed power to the oven and told me that I could have done the same. The little flame immediately went out. He also told me that I could have used my fire extinguisher.

After he left, I was in shock thinking about what he said could have happened to me.

Snoonian also stressed how important it is to keep a fire extinguisher nearby or to have a Home Safety Blanket on hand that is used to smother small fires.

To prevent stovetop fires from taking place she gave the following pointers: Stay in the kitchen when cooking, store flammables away from the stove and keep kids and distractions out of the kitchen.

Please remember this advice in order that you may have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!