Applying Safety to Appliances

Published: June 17, 2015


By Michael Corey, Residential Supervisor

Cooking is, and has long been, the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries. This is true for both fires reported to fire departments and those handled without fire department assistance.During the five-year period of 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 156,600 home structure fires in which cooking equipment was involved in the ignition of the fire.

Overall, these incidents accounted for two of every five reported home fires (43%) and reported home fire injuries (38%). *These statistics are estimates derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey.

In our Bridgewell homes, we have many small convenient appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and microwaves to help with everyday life activities.  However, all of these appliances are heat producing and if not used correctly or cleaned regularly can become a considerable risk for injury and/or cause a fire.

Here are some tips to ensure safety for all when using and maintaining household appliances:

  • Appliances should be cleaned after each use and unplugged when not in use.
  • Appliance cords should not be draped over a sink or walkway, or be in an area where they can be accidentally immersed in water or another liquid or placed over a heat source. They should not drape over a counter top or table. The cords are short for a reason, which is to remain close to the outlet.

Stove/Oven Ranges:

  • Keep burners, stove top and oven free from grease and other items i.e. pizza boxes.
  • Clean after each use and wipe spills.
  • Do not leave flammable items near burners, i.e., potholders, dish towels, or your own clothing.

Clothes Dryers:

  • Clean the vent after each use and do not use without a lint filter.

Washing Machines:

  • Do not overload the machine. This could cause the motor to burn out resulting in a flame.

Microwave Ovens:

  • Metal pans and utensils should NEVER be used with microwave ovens.
  • Keep the oven clean and be sure that all seals are clean and free from debris.


This post is an excerpt from Bridgewell’s Safety Newsletter, created by Bridgewell’s Safety Committee. Keep an eye out through the month of June for additional tips and advice from our Safety Committee members, as we join the rest of the country in bringing attention to safety in the workplace.

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