George Foreman, a champion heavyweight boxer, first appeared on our late-night TV screens in infomercials for the Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine way back in 1994. It was a phenomenon for a time; the must-have Father’s Day gift. The concept was the two slanted grilling plates which purportedly allowed the grease to drain from whatever it was that was cooking.
Although Foreman cashed out in 1999, his name is still attached to the product, which now can be purchased with non-stick grill plates, a griddle plate, and waffle plates.
But these grills have a problem that many a chef realized a long time ago: no temperature control. Like with any kitchen appliances, you shouldn’t really walk away from a grilling George Foreman grill. Grease and electricity are not necessarily good bedfellows. Supervision while in use is key.
While the recent headline of a Florida man, who happened to be naked, started a fire attempting to bake cookies on his George Foreman grill might inspire a giggle or two, sometimes the fires are much more serious. It’s been almost a half-decade since an unattended grill caught fire in a Lanarkshire, England hospital, setting fire to the A&E department. And these grills aren’t the only appliances causing fires.
“While certain recent headlines have brought the George Foreman grill into the limelight, there are actually small appliances out there that are responsible for more fires,” says Rich Newsome, attorney and co-founder of Newsome Melton Law, a personal injury firm in Orlando.
The microwave has its own set of hazards, especially if you don’t clean them. Grease can block vents, causing a fire hazard, and a seal that isn’t working well can present radiation hazards. There is also a toaster or toaster oven fire. Coffee pots can also become fire hazards, even those with automatic shut-off switches. These can begin to fail as the coffee pot ages.
It doesn’t have to be a kitchen appliance either. Irons, curling irons, straighteners, and hair dryers can all be fire hazards, if left running and unattended. Basically, anything electric can pose a fire hazard if proper safety measures are not taken. Below are some tips to help you and your home safe from electrical fires from your home.
Inspect appliance cords regularly. Any fraying or exposed wires could signal that you have a fire hazard. Also, never wrap cords around the appliance
- You may also need to inspect your home wiring, especially if you have an older home. Dated wiring sometimes can have problems handling the demand of modern appliances.
- The number one tip, of course, is to always supervise an appliance when it is in use. While it may be tempting to go get a shower while your toaster works on that bread, it’s best to wait.
- Another must is to be sure that you unplug small appliances after use. This can help ensure that your appliance doesn’t become a fire hazard.
Most kitchen appliances, including George Foreman Grills, are safe if you use them properly, keep them clean, and replace worn components over time. Keep those manuals! They’ll tell you everything you need to use your appliance safely.