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  • Writer's pictureAl Boenker Insurance

Fire Safety in the Kitchen

Cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in 2015-2019 and the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Cooking caused 49 percent of reported home fires, 20 percent of reported home fire deaths, and 42 percent of home fire injuries. In 2019, Thanksgiving was the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

What you should know about home cooking safety

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.

  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

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.

Cooking fire facts

Based on 2014-2018 annual averages:

  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

  • Clothing is the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions caused 8% of the home cooking fire deaths.

  • Ranges or cooktops account for three-fifths of home cooking fire incidents.

  • Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires and over half of the associated deaths.

  • Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.

With proper preparedness, you can help keep your family safe from fire. :

Testing the smoke alarms in your house, and creating and practicing a fire escape plan.

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