Prepare for National Greasy Foods Day – with SAFETY

  • Published
  • 75th Air Base Wing Safety Office

Recently, two Airmen from Team Hill were injured by hot oil and grease while cooking, according to Hill Air Force Base safety officials. One injury resulted in 2nd degree (partial-thickness) burns, and another caused 3rd degree (full-thickness) burns. Oil burns are one of the most painful types of burns and can be difficult to treat on your own.

If a person is burned, it is recommended to cool the first- and second-degree burned areas with cool running water for a minimum of 10 minutes. This will lower the victim’s skin temperature, which stops the burning process, numbs the pain and prevents or reduces swelling. Do not use ice or very cold water. Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. Cool them only with wet sterile dressing until medical attention is received .

National Greasy Foods Day is celebrated each October 25th. While a strange and perhaps unnecessary observance, it presents an opportunity to discuss the dangers of cooking with hot oil.

Seventy-eight percent of oil burns occur in the home. The most common circumstances consist of children who grabbed the handle or electric cord of a frying pan and pulled the hot oil down onto themselves. Nineteen of the 29 children were less than 8 years old . Burns due to cooking oil and grease are associated with considerable morbidity. The high boiling point, high viscosity, and potential combustibility of oil increase the potential soft-tissue damage when compared with typical scald injuries from hot water . The dangers of children pulling on the appliance, the dangers of transporting hot oil, the importance of supervision while children are cooking, and the importance of knowledge of the management of grease fires is essential.

Because grease burns result largely from a lack of consumer education, cooking pans and especially deep fryers should provide detailed warning labels that inform the user of the dangers of cooking with hot grease. Currently, such warning labels are not found on most such products. The cooking oils themselves need detailed, easily readable warning labels. Domestic cooking oils have such labels but imported oils do not .

To reduce the likelihood and severity of a burn, safety officials recommend following these recommendations:

  1. Wear gloves, mitts, or use potholders when cooking with oil or grease.
  2. Never stand above a fryer or pan with frying oil in it.
  3. Wear appropriate footwear while cooking – if grease does fall, your feet are likely to be hit.
  4. Consider wearing an impermeable apron if cooking a large volume of food or a large item.
  5. Never drain or strain hot oil; wait for it to cool.