Microwave is broken filled hot flame

Small appliances can make jobs in the kitchen much easier, but these same appliances can be a big hazard in the kitchen if they aren’t cared for and used properly.

Always read the manufacturer’s directions before using an electrical appliance for the first time.

Always check appliance cords before using. If they are broken, frayed or damaged in any way, do not use them. Damaged cords can cause fires. 

If the cord can be detached, always unplug the cord from the wall before removing it from the appliance. Cords should have a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label on them.

Keep small appliances away from water! Do not even try to use an appliance while your hands are wet. 

Be sure to keep all cords and outlets dry. Remember that electrical appliances are “live” when plugged in even when the switch is off. If it falls into water, you could be electrocuted if you touch it.

Do not plug an appliance into the same outlet as several other electrical appliances.

When finished using an appliance, never wrap the power cord around an appliance too tightly or around a hot appliance.

Blenders: Turn off the blender or food processor before using a scraper or spatula. Don’t blend extremely thick foods for more than 3 minutes as they can tend to overheat the motor. Open the lid away from your face after blending hot foods.

Electric Can Openers: The newer can openers, known as “safe-cut” or “smooth edge” openers work in this way – instead of cutting into the lid, the metal wheel pries under the lid’s outer lip so the entire top of the can lifts up and off. Users must be careful with the cut lid.

Toasters: Never reach into a toaster with a knife, fork or anything else while it is plugged in. If a bagel or piece of toast gets stuck in a toaster, unplug the toaster first before trying to get the piece out.

Microwaves: When cooking covered foods, make sure a small section is vented or uncovered so steam doesn’t build up and burn you when you take the food out of the oven. Don’t use metal in a microwave – it can start a fire!

While keeping a small appliance plugged in isn’t necessarily a safety issue, unplugging them will help conserve energy. Small appliances often include LED indicators, clocks and other energy-consuming features while in standby mode.

Cinda Seamon is the fire and life safety educator for Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue.