Preventing Kitchen Fires

According to the Red Cross,

  • Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and related injuries.  
  • An estimated 90 percent of these fires are caused by unattended cooking.
  • Home fires are more likely to start in your kitchen than in any other area of your home.

With statistics like these, it is easy to understand the importance of being safe in the kitchen. Do you know how to keep your home and your family safe? Here are a few tips:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking food. Many fires can be quickly extinguished if someone is there when they first start. If you are in another part of the house, the fire could be out of control by the time you realize there's a problem. If you must leave the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food, turn off the stove.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. With the right equipment, you can quickly extinguish most small fires. Be sure your extinguisher is rated for kitchen use. All adults in your home who will be cooking should know where it is kept and how to properly use it.  It is also a good idea to periodically test extinguishers and replace them when needed.
  • Watch clothing and other items around stoves. Dish towels, loose-fitting clothing and other flammable items can quickly ignite from burners on your stove. Be sure to keep the stove area clear of flammable items while cooking. Make sure you are not wearing loose-fitting clothing that will hang too close to the heat from the stove or oven.
  • Be sure to clean cooking areas to remove grease regularly. Grease can build up over time and ignite from simply turning on a burner or oven. 
  • Keep children away from stoves and other cooking devices. Always enforce a three-foot safety area.
  • Double check appliances are off before leaving the kitchen or going to bed.
  • Install properly operating smoke detectors in your home. Make it a habit of changing smoke detector batteries twice a year, when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends.

Knowing how to combat a fire is key to preventing damage to your home and injuries to your family. When cooking with grease, have a lid for the pan easily accessible. If the grease ignites, cover it with the lid to extinguish the fire and turn off the burner if you can safely reach it. You may also use a wet towel to cover the pan. NEVER put water on a grease fire. Do not move the pan until the fire is out and the pan has completely cooled down.