Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking behaviors. Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.

It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children:

  • Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
  • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.
  • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames.
  • Never use the range or oven to heat your home. Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.

 

What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.

Where does carbon monoxide come from?
CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces and motor vehicles. Who is at risk? Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning.

What do I need to do if the Carbon Monoxide Alarm goes of?
If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off depends on whether anyone is feeling ill or not.

If no one is feeling ill:

  1. Silence the alarm.
  2. Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace).
  3. Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.
  4. Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup.

If illness is a factor:

  1. Evacuate all occupants immediately.
  2. Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms.
  3. Call your local emergency number and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.
  4. Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative.
  5. Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO.