Often referred to as “the heart of the home,” your kitchen is a key ingredient in your family’s sense of togetherness. In fact, family dinners are making a comeback as their significance is being realized more and more. As you create a wish list for your kitchen remodel, you probably have coordinating design elements and enhancing functional community as chief considerations. But have you given a thought to safety?
Even if the kitchen isn’t actually the riskiest room in the house, it certainly can pose many hazards. From burns and cuts to slip-and-fall injuries, the design of your kitchen remodel can help lessen the chances of kitchen-related injuries.
In this post, we’ll look at designing with fire hazards in mind.
Design for Prevention
It’s probably no surprise to you that the chief cause of home fires is cooking. In 2010, over 150,000 home fires were caused by cooking fires. Many safeguards can help you to reduce the chances that your home doesn’t get added to this year’s list — and no, you don’t have to stop cooking!
First, you’ll want to do what you can to help with fire prevention. That starts with your choice of appliances. Make sure you select appliances approved by independent labs and installed by qualified electricians according to manufacturer directions and local building codes. If you have small children, you will want to make sure appliances have child-lock features to prevent little ones from opening oven doors or turning on gas burners.
Part of making sure your appliances are safely installed includes careful outlet positioning. All appliances should be plugged into a wall outlet directly instead of requiring an extension cord, which can cause overloading of circuits and result in a fire. Outlets should also be installed according to safety codes. If you’re near a body of water, a GFCI device will be required and will automatically shut off electricity when electrical currents connect with water.
Even smaller design elements should be considered with fire safety in mind. It might look nice to have hooks with oven mitts and pot holders hanging above the stove, but especially if you have a gas range, the potential of their catching fire is just not worth the risk.
Design for Response
At the end of the day, you can’t completely eliminate the chances of a kitchen fire. But you can provide for a quick response that will at least contain the damage and reduce the chances of injury or death.
That’s why you’ll want to include a sprinkler system in your kitchen remodel budget. Even though it’s less costly to install such a system in a brand new home, a good contractor can retrofit your existing kitchen with a sprinkler system according to NFPA guidelines. Of course, a fire extinguisher should also be installed.
In Part 2, we’ll look at reducing risks of cuts and slip-and-fall accidents.
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.
Image credits: Top © Mary Sligar/Fotolia; 2nd © Irene Teesalu/Fotolia; 3rd © Stephen Coburn/Fotolia