Cooking fires are the number one causes of both house fires and fire-related injuries. Unattended cooking accounts for nearly 90 percent of these fires.
The statistic that should be an eye-opener is that more than half of reported non-fatal cooking fire injuries occurred when people tried to fight the fire themselves. Most of these are from incorrect techniques like using water to fight a grease fire.
Whether frying, grilling or using a broiler, there’s never a safe time to leave cooking food unattended. If you must step away from the food, turn off the cooking appliance. When baking, check it regularly and never leave the house with something in the oven.
Keep the cooking area clear of anything that may catch fire like oven mitts, towels, or food packaging. Loose clothing can also be a danger when cooking. Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking and be aware of loose-fitting aprons that can dangle onto burners.
If cooking oil starts to boil, remove it from the heat source and let it cool before adding food. If the oil catches fire, wear an oven mitt and slide a lid or cover over the pan or use a baking sheet. Having a lid readily available on the counter, even if you’re not using it, is a good idea in case of a fire. Keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen area is another great idea.
The most important tip about kitchen fires is to call 9-1-1 and let the professionals help! For more on kitchen fires, see our blog post Fire in Apartment B? Check the Stove!