With Easter around the corner, many of you will be cooking your favorite family recipes. I sure will be! As I cook, I always keep in mind the significance of remaining alert while doing so, especially since cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”), the following annual averages relate to cooking equipment’s involvement in home structure fires that occurred from 2010 until 2014:
- 480 civilian fire deaths, or one of every six (19%) home fire deaths,
- 5,540 civilian fire injuries, or more than two of every five (44%) reported home fire injuries, and
- $1.1 billion in direct property damage, or 17% of total direct damage in home structure fires.
Unattended cooking is the main cause of cooking fires, hence the reason why I remain attentive and in the kitchen while cooking. You should do the same to remain safe. Foods being simmered, boiled, baked, or roasted should be checked regularly, and you should always keep your eye on items you are frying. I also recommend using a timer. Be sure to keep items that can catch fire away from the stovetop; this includes oven mitts, food packaging and towels. If a cooking fire does develop, get out of the house after closing the door behind you and call 9-1-1. If the cooking fire starts in the oven, be sure to turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If it starts on the stovetop due to grease, turn off the stovetop and cover the pan with a lid to smother the fire.
By following the aforementioned safety tips and constantly being cognizant of your surroundings while whipping up your favorite meals, you can prevent cooking fires.
For quick reference, you can use the following safety tip sheet generated by the NFPA: Cooking Safety Tips.
Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)