Next to the everyday hustle and bustle of the average office, office kitchen fire safety is a secondary concern. However, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that just over one-fifth of office fires begin in the kitchen or cooking area. Twenty-nine percent are started by cooking equipment, the leading cause of fires in the office.

Although these fires started small, they caused major structure damage.

How can you prevent a kitchen fire from happening in your office? How do you keep your employees safe and well fed at the same time?

Here are four important safety tips to help you get started:

1. Replace worn or frayed power cords

Inspect power cords on the kitchen appliances. Are the wires exposed?  If so, the cord can short out and cause a fire. Encourage your employees to keep an eye out for damaged cords.  Be sure to replace them as soon as they are found. This one simple act will keep the office safe.

2. Watch food as it cooks

It easy to become distracted in the office, whether its fellow coworkers gossiping or doing too many things at once. You wouldn’t leave food unattended at home and the office should not be any different. To ensure food cooks properly, emphasize that employees must stay near appliances as they cook or heat food/beverage. Employees using the kitchen also need to watch for signs of smoke or burning. Doing so will ensure the safety of the entire building.

3. Regularly clean appliances

We’ve all been there. We stick a (insert food item) in the microwave, oven, toaster, etc., and it explodes or leaves spillage behind. However, we avoid cleaning, commonly thinking someone else will do it.  Spills and baked-in foods left behind can cause a fire. Cleaning kitchen equipment after use will prevent grease from accumulating which prevents combustion. These hazards can be avoided easily so remind employees to wipe up spills, food particles left behind, etc.

4. Have employees trained to use a fire extinguisher

No matter how proactive you and your employees are, accidents still happen. Having staff trained to use fire fighting equipment could mean the difference between a catastrophe or a minor incident. Train your employees to use a fire extinguisher, first aid equipment, and other lifesaving safety measures.

With most office fires starting in the kitchen, it is important to educate employees on office kitchen fire safety. Not only can your employees use these practices in the office, they can also apply them in their home.