Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires.
Cooking and related activities are the direct cause of over 90% of kitchen fires and of more than one third of all residential fires. Each year, close to 150,000 fires are attributed to unattended cooking. About 60% of cooking fires are the result of food, especially fats and oil igniting on the stove top. A smaller percentage of fires (less than 20%) start in the oven. They also result in hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries each year.
Still, most kitchen fires and injuries are preventable. Being proactive in reducing the risk of a kitchen fire, and knowing what to do in the event of a fire in the kitchen, can save families both grief and resources.
How to prevent a kitchen fire
- never leave your cooking unattended; if you have to leave to kitchen for any reason at all, turn off the heat.
- keep all flammables (oven mitts, utensils, paper towel, food packaging, etc.) away from the stove
- prevent grease buildup on cooking services
- have an oven mitten and a lid ready to put out a grease fire
- have a fire extinguisher ready and know how to use it.
- install a smoke alarm close to your kitchen to alert you to any smoke before it spreads to other areas
- keep kids away from the stove when cooking
- check the stove to make sure is turned off before going to bed or leaving the house
What to do if you have a kitchen fire
- if the contents of your oven are on fire, turn off the gas or electricity right away and keep the oven door shut to starve the fire. Cal the fire department if the fire doesn’t die out right away.
- if you have a grease fire on the store, use an oven mitten to put a lid over the fire. If this doesn’t stop the fire, use your fire extinguisher. Never put water over a grease fire, as the grease will splatter spreading the fire, and you’ll also risk serious injury
- if other thing caught fire in your kitchen, use lids, soaked towels, and a fire extinguisher to put it out. Do not fan the flames with towels or other things, as they can fire, and you are likely to spread it further.
- if you can’t get the fire under control right away, call 911 and get everyone to safety.
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