Preventing kitchen fires

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief, 509.625.7002

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 11 a.m.

With families spending more time in the kitchen, safe cooking behaviors are worthy of family conversation. Cooking equipment, most often the range or stovetop, remains the leading cause of reported home fires - and home fire injuries - in the United States. The SFD wants to change that, and we need your help!

Safe Cooking Behaviors:

It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave items that can catch fire, such as potholders or paper towels, near the stove. Whether you're cooking a holiday dinner - or a snack for the children, safe cooking behaviors keep you and your family safe.

Choose the Right Equipment and Use it Properly:
  • Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.
  • Always follow manufacturers' instructions and code requirements when installing and operating cooking equipment.
  • Always plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
Watch What You Heat:
  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Stay in the kitchen when 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're cooking.
  • Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
Keep Things That can Catch Fire and Heat Sources Apart:
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains - away from your stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.

Learn more about Fire Prevention Week and preventing kitchen fires from the National Fire Protection Assocation