Ultimate Fire Protection Guide: Kitchen Fires
Updated: Jul 29
Most house fires start in the kitchen. The National Fire Protection Association reports that in the period between 2010 and 2014, “U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 166,100 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment per year. These fires caused an average of 480 civilian fire deaths, 5,540 civilian fire injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.”
NFPA's "Home Structure Fires" report states:
Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 46% of home fires that resulted in 19% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries.
Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions led to 18% of the home cooking equipment fire deaths.
Ranges or cooktops accounted for the majority (62%) of home cooking fire incidents.
Unattended equipment was a factor in one-third (33%) of reported home cooking fires and a half (49%) of the associated deaths.
Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.
MAIN FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO KITCHEN FIRES:
Discarded or abandoned material
Heat too close to combustible materials
Misuse of material
Equipment unintentionally turned on or not turned off.
Failure to clean equipment.
PREVENTING KITCHEN FIRES
Follow These Steps Published by the American Red Cross:
Never leave your cooking unattended—even for a second! If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
Check your food regularly.
Use a timer so you will remember the stove or oven is on.
Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
Keep anything combustible (pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, towels, or curtains) away from your stove, oven, or other heat-generating appliances.
Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease build-up.
Purchase a fire extinguisher for your kitchen and take training from your local Fire Department on the proper use of extinguishers.
Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
Make sure you have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home and inside and outside of the bedrooms. Use the alarm’s test button each month, and replace the batteries once a year.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A KITCHEN FIRE
There is one rule here: JUST GET OUT!!! Most people believe that they have at least six minutes before the fire becomes life-threatening. Often there is much less time than this. Make sure everyone is out safely, close the door behind you, and call the fire department.
FIND A SAFE PLACE TO WAIT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AND PLEASE NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING HOME!