Articles Posted in Cooking & Gas Fire

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July! The Fourth of July holiday is usually centered around fun, and many of us celebrate the long weekend with friends and family, but like many other holidays, risks of accidents and injuries tend to increase during this time.

To help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe this weekend, we would like for everyone to review the below safety tips:

Firework Safety

Many people around the state of Florida want to light of a few fireworks of their own, regardless of the fact that Florida law prohibits any fireworks that fly through the air or explode — such as Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars — for recreational use. If you plan to light off your own, remember these important tips:

  • Always follow instructions and never provide fireworks to small children.
  • Use fireworks in a safe area and never throw or point fireworks toward people, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
  • Do not light multiple fireworks at once and never attempt to relight a “dud” firework that did not go off the first time.

Drunk Driving

Sadly, drunk driving accidents, injuries, and deaths are consistently high during Fourth of July weekend. If you plan on celebrating ‘Merica’s Birthday with a few cocktails, make sure to drink responsibly or plan a safe ride home. Designate a sober driver, or call a cab or transportation service like Uber or Lyft. Remember, law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for drunk and/or drugged motorists.

Grilling Safety

Barbecues are always a Fourth of July staple. Did you know that numerous people suffer injuries when barbecuing on charcoal and gas grills? Make sure to never grill indoors,  refrain from adding lighter fluid when charcoal has already been ignited, and always follow instructions.

Water Safety

It’s hot in Florida! Most Floridians and visitors to our state will be by the beach, lake, or enjoying the water at backyard pool parties this weekend. When having fun near or in the water, safety should be your top priority. Adults should always supervise children and you should drink responsibly, as well as have an emergency action plan in case something goes awry.

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If you are like most Americans, you will likely be spending numerous hours in the kitchen over the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, that increased activity also leads to more chances of residential home fires, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association. According to reports, the Thanksgiving holiday sees three times the nation’s daily average in emergency fire accidents. Research shows that fires originating in the kitchen are the top reason for home fires and burn injuries. Last year, fire departments throughout the country replied to a median of almost 156,000 fires resulting  from cooking mishaps, which led to 390 deaths and 4,800 injuries, not to mention a whopping $771 million in property damages.

Keeping all this in mind, please follow a few simple fire prevention safety steps this Thanksgiving holiday when you and your family are in the kitchen:

  • Keep items away from the stove or oven that may catch fire, including cloth mitts, wood items, and any kind of packaging. Other potential fire hazards to watch out for are rags or towels, aprons, clothes, and even drapes.
  • Never leave the stove or oven unattended, even if you are walking away for a few seconds. Turn the heat off whenever you leave the room. Many fires start because an oven or stove is left unsupervised for a very short amount of time.
  • Use timers to stay on top of cooking schedules and to avoid burning accidents that can result in fires.
  • If you do happen to start a small fire in a pan or oven, immediately cover it with a metal or glass lid and turn the heat off. If it does not extinguish after 30 seconds, call the fire department for immediate assistance.

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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, General Electric has agreed to pay a $3.5 million civil penalty due to their failure to report an unreasonable risk of serious injury caused by defective ranges and dishwashers.

Reports show that the connector in the range’s wire harness can overheat and cause a fire, which could lead to serious burn injuries. In addition, various models of dishwashers were recalled because of  similar fire hazards. The CPSC said the dishwashers could short circuit when condensation builds up on the control board.

6884568558_06fb98ba6d_zStandard CPSC policy requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report any findings related to a potential safety hazard or defect to the CPSC immediately. Generally, all information regarding possible risks or dangers should be reported within 24 hours of obtaining the information.

GE and the CPSC announced the recall of 28,000 dual-fuel ranges in April of 2009. The ranges were sold across the United States from June 2002 through December 2005. By the time GE had recalled the product, 13 separate incidents had been reported regarding the harness and wiring overheating in the back of the range. Of these reported incidents, five resulted in a fire.

GE was apparently aware of this hazard dating all the way back to 2004. GE also failed to report the fire hazards that were found in Profile and Monogram Dishwashers that were sold between July 2003 and October 2010. GE recalled 174,000 units in 2010, but knew of several incidents reports dating back to 2007.

In addition to the payment of $3.5 million, GE has also agreed to a compliance program as part of the settlement.  The compliance program will be set up to ensure that the Consumer Product Safety Act is being met as well as various protocols, including:

  • Proper procedures for recording, processing and reporting information regarding possible safety issues
  • Written standards and policies
  • Confidential employee reporting of compliance concerns to a senior manager
  • Senior management responsibility for, and general board oversight of compliance
  • Requirements for record retention

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Thanksgiving is usually a time spent with family and friends carrying on old traditions while making new memories. Frying a turkey has become one of those new traditions for many households across America. However, the reality is that this tradition could end in tragedy. House fires from turkey frying have become more and more common the past few years. The good news is that many of these fires can be prevented by taking certain safety precautions.

Turkey Fryer Safety Tips

5176608082_d28b5420a6_zLots of people choose to fry their turkeys instead of cook them in the oven. Those who fry their bird usually use outdoor turkey fryers that are connected to some type of gas source, like propane. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, more than one-third of fires involving turkey fryers take place in someone’s garage or patio. With that said, if you are frying a turkey this year, make sure you are a safe distance away from trees or buildings. Turkey fryers should be kept off all wooden structures, like patios and decks, at all times.

Another important thing to remember is to fully thaw your turkey before placing it in the fryer. It only takes a small amount of grease to spill onto the fire source for your Thanksgiving to end in disaster. Start your turkey frying process by filling your turkey fryer with cold oil, then lower the properly-thawed turkey into the pot to determine how much oil should be added or removed and then you can start heating the oil. Doing this can help avoid hot oil spills and potential fires.

The last thing to remember is to stay close to the turkey fryer at all times when it is in use. Do not leave the fryer unattended and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case an emergency arises.

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It is that time of year again and the Thanksgiving holiday is almost here! The focus on this holiday tends to be food and family, so it is important to bring up some cooking safety tips so that you can make sure your Thanksgiving meal goes off without a hitch.

The Thanksgiving holiday sees more residential fire deaths, injuries and property damage than any other day of the year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 1,300 cooking fires were reported on Thanksgiving Day from 2009 to 2011, which is more than triple the average daily rate of about 400 cooking fires.

Thanksgiving dinner betch.jpgFortunately, with good planning and solid lines of communication between all the chefs in the family, these fires can ultimately be prevented. The following tips can help to keep your holiday safe:

• Stand by your pan! You should never leave food that is cooking unattended. In case you need to walk away from your dish, turn the stove off or ask someone else to watch the food.

• Check your smoke alarms. What good is a smoke alarm if it does not work? Make sure you have properly working smoke alarms in your kitchen.

• Keep away from candles. It is best to avoid using these, especially if young children are around.

• Keep flammable objects away from the stovetop. This includes, oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels and other kitchen aides.

• Use a timer. This will remind you when dishes are done and when you can stop cooking.

• Keep electrical cords away from children. If you have electric appliances make sure cords are not left dangling in front of or near a child that can easily grab it.

• Keep children out of the kitchen until food has had time to cool. When food, such as vegetables and gravies, is too hot, serious skin burns can be caused to those that touch it.

Should a cooking fire arise in your household, follow these steps:

• In the event of a cooking fire, call 911, get everyone outdoors to safety and wait for the fire department to arrive.

• Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen just in case a fire ignites. Make sure the fire extinguisher is in working condition and is properly charged.

• If an oven fire breaks out in your kitchen, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

• For small grease fires, it is best to smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the stove top. Keep the lid on the pan until it has cooled. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire as this could leave you with some serious burn injuries.

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For many Americans, the Fourth of July holiday means grabbing friends and family members and barbecuing on the grill. While cooking out is essentially a rite of summer, most people fail to realize the budding dangers for serious burns and other injuries right in your back yard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2005 to 2009, fire departments across the United States responded to around 8,200 home fires per year that involved grills, hibachis or barbecues. Annually, these fires cause an estimated $75 million in property damage and injure 120 people. In addition, 15 deaths are reported every year as a result of home and grill fires.

Since June and July are considered the peak months for grilling fires, it is important to discuss how you can keep you and your loved ones safe this summer. The most important thing to remember is to keep your grill away from your house or garage as it could cause these structures to ignite. While it is convenient to grill on your deck or patio, it is not a good idea. Make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from your home in order to reduce the possibility of setting any structures on fire as well as prevent carbon monoxide from building up in a confined area. Always keep children and pets away from the grill area and never leave the grill unattended.

It is a great idea to make sure your grill is in good shape before cranking up the heat. Whether you are using a gas or charcoal grill, follow these safety tips to execute a memorable barbeque this Fourth of July.

Charcoal Grills

• Get the charcoal ready for use. You can use charcoal chimney starters to start the charcoal using newspaper for fuel. You can also use a starter fluid, but make sure it is specifically charcoal starter fluid. Electrical charcoal starters can also be used, and these do not use fire at all. Just make sure you have an extension cord appropriate for outdoor use.

• Do not add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire once it has been lit.

• Make sure charcoal fluid stays out of the hands of children and away from any heat sources
• After you are done grilling, let the coals cool completely. Once this is done, the charcoal can be disposed of in a metal container.

Propane Grills

• Check the hoses and connections between the grill and propane tank before using it.

• Never use a match to check for leaks.

• A propane leak will release bubbles – running water over a hose will show these bubbles if there is a leak.

• If your grill has a leak, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, make sure to get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call your local fire department immediately.

• Should you start to smell gas while cooking, get everyone away from the grill right away and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.

As always, the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton remind you and your loved ones to exercise safety first and enjoy your Fourth of July. Should the worst happen, we are equipped to handle cases involving fires, burns or other catastrophic injuries.

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many Floridians have opted to try a new spin on the holiday staple – deep fried turkey. While the results can be delicious, deep frying can also be quite dangerous. In fact, the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers require turkeys to be immersed in a large quantity of cooking oil at extremely high temperatures, which can ultimately release hot oil during the cooking process that can leave you and your neighbors, guests and loved ones with devastating burns and catastrophic injuries as well as put your home at risk for property damage.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving Day yields the highest number of cooking fires in the United States. Cooking fires are also the number one cause of home fires that cause an annual average of 390 deaths, 4,800 injuries and $771 million in property damage. With that said, the NFPA also reports that deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage every year.

As turkey frying peaks more and more interests, the number of fryer-related injuries and fires are on the rise. According to State Farm Insurance claims data from 2005-2010, the state of Florida ranks seventh in the top 10 states for Thanksgiving Day cooking fires. The other nine states with the most turkey fire-related insurance claims include Texas, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Louisiana.

To reduce the risk of deep fried disasters this holiday, follow these safety tips:

1. Avoid Filling Your Pot With Excess Oil – When a fryer contains too much oil, the odds the oil will spill out of the pot when the turkey is submerged is high. If the oil makes contact with a burner a major fire can arise. Read and follow all instructions with your cooking pot or fryer and make sure oil does not exceed the proper level.

2. Properly Thaw Your Turkey Before Dropping It Into the Oil – Placing a frozen or partially frozen turkey into a fryer can cause the hot oil to spill, which can result in a significant fire or burn injury. Do not thaw your turkey by using water, instead wait the proper amount of time until your turkey is fully thawed and then slowly release it into the pot so that splashing and spills are avoided.

3. Place Your Turkey Fryer On A Level Surface – Many fryer fires start on a structure or deck, so make sure you place your outdoor fryer on a firm and non-combustible surface. It is best to keep the fryer off of wooden surfaces and a safe distance away from buildings. Because many fryers are top-heavy it is essential to keep them on a level surface so that they do not tip over.

4. Don’t Leave Your Fryer Unattended – Remember that when you fry a turkey you are using grease or oil that is combustible, so do not walk away from a hot fryer. There are fryers that do not have thermostat controls and if unattended, the oil could ignite from extreme temperatures.

Should a cooking fire arise…
1. Get yourself and your loved ones away from the fire immediately. If the fire is in the house, closing the door behind you once you are outside may help to contain the fire.

2. Call 911 as soon as you can.

3. If you try to extinguish the fire, do not use ice or water. It is best to have an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires nearby should an emergency erupt.

4. Small grease fires can be contained by having a lid nearby when cooking that can smother grease fires. By placing the lid over the pan and turning the stovetop off, the fire can be smothered easily. The pan should remain covered until it is thoroughly cooled.

5. If an oven fire should arise, keep the oven door shut and turn the heat completely off.

Due to the risks of severe property damage and serious bodily injuries associated with frying turkeys, the NFPA advises that for those craving fried turkey this holiday season to purchase one already fried from a local specialty food or grocery store. No matter how you choose to prepare your turkey this year, the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton, LLC advise you to exercise extreme caution and wish you and your loved ones a safe holiday season.

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