Cooking related fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries and 47 percent of them start as the result of cooking equipment left unattended according the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). In fact, NFPA reports that cooking fires are often traced to people engaging in unsafe behaviors, like removing batteries from smoke alarms and placing flammable materials near cooking surfaces. Take time to understand the fire dangers related to cooking; learn how to prevent them and what actions to take if a cooking fire starts.
Cooking Fire Safety Tips
The most common type of kitchen fire is the grease fire. A grease fire is extremely dangerous as it can get out of control quickly and spread from the stove throughout the kitchen and into other rooms of the house. Many grease fires occur because someone leaves a frying pan on the stove unattended.
Tips to keep your family safe when cooking:
1. Cook only when you’re alert – not when you’re exhausted, not when you’ve been drinking.
2. Keep an eye on what you fry. If you have to step away from the stove, turn it off.
3. Keep things that can catch fire – such as dish towels, potholders and paper towels away from the stove. And avoid cooking in your bathrobe; the loose sleeves can catch fire easily.
4. Keep hot things away from the edges of tables and counters.
5. Open microwaved food slowly, and keep the food away from your face.
6. Have a “kid-free” zone of at least 3 feet around the stove and anything hot and never hold your child while you’re cooking or carrying something hot.
7. Teach kids to stay away from the stove and hot foods.
8. Keep pets off cooking surfaces.
9. Install smoke alarms in the kitchen, outside each sleeping area, inside each bedroom, and on every level of your home (including the basement).
If you have a cooking fire:
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.