Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
What you should know
- 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, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home 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 with oil
Overheated cooking oil will start to bubble or froth excessively and/or smoke. The frothing action might cause the oil to overflow the pan and ignite. The fire is intense and could surge up and out of the pan almost instantly.
Facts and figures
- A study published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 75% of range or stove fires started with food ignitions. Forty-three percent began with cooking oil; 33% started with fish or meat. Sixty-three percent of the range or stove fires beginning with food occurred when someone was frying.
- Fifty-eight percent of the people who were injured in non-fatal reported home cooking fires during 2005-2009 were injured when they tried to fight the fire themselves.
- One of every four home fires reported in 2005-2009 started with fat or grease. One of every three reported fire injuries resulted from these fires
Source: NFPA's Fire Analysis & Research Division