The Fall season kicks off a lot of traditions for people all over the country, and marks the beginning of lots of cooking and baking as people move indoors and get into the holiday spirit of the latter part of the year. Generally, people like to think that they’ll never be the cause of a cooking-related fire in their home or apartment, especially during this time of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and chili and cornbread. But one day, you may realize you forgot to pick your son up from school while a pot full of mac and cheese sits on an active burner on the stove, or your significant other may show up from work with a box of your favorite pizza when you already have a casserole baking in the oven—and a cooking-related fire can begin.
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries, and they are actually the reason that FireAvert exists. The National Fire Protection Association reports the following statistics based on 2012-2016 annual averages:
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home* fires and fire injuries, causing 48% of home fires that resulted in 21% of the home fire deaths and 45% of the injuries.
- Two-thirds (66%) 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 lead to 15% of the home cooking equipment fire deaths.
- Ranges or cooktops account for almost two-thirds (63%) of home cooking fire incidents.
- Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (32%) of reported home cooking fires and half (45%) of the associated deaths.
- Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Because cooking fires are so prevalent and can be so destructive, here are some basic cooking safety tips from the NFPA to put to memory so you don’t cause another statistic and property damage to your home:
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- Turn off the stove/oven if you must leave, even for a short amount of time.
- If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- 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 a cooking fire begins in your kitchen:
- 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.
We hope these statistics and tips will help you to avoid a cooking fire in your home in the future. But, if you’d like to make sure that one will never happen (in the case that one of these days you do forget about that piece of chicken cooking on your stovetop), you can install a FireAvert behind your oven for some peace of mind. You can learn more about FireAvert here, and click here to request more information from us!