Cooking Fires

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Extinguishing and Preventing Cooking Fires

Cooking FiresCooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, with stove fires dominating this problem. Most cooking fires are caused by peoples' behaviors, not appliance failures. The main causes of cooking fires include: Leaving food cooking on the stovetop unattended, Leaving burners or ovens on after cooking, placing combustibles too close to heat sources, and wearing loose fitting sleeves near hot burners.

In Case of Fire

Take extra care when frying or deep frying food or when cooking with oils, lard, butter or other grease products. If a grease fire occurs, remember to:

  • Turn off the burner, if you can do so safely.
  • Use an oven mitt to put a lid on the pan.
  • Or toss baking soda on the flames.
  • Use an approved fire extinguisher
  • Leave the house and call 911 if you can't put out the fire quickly and safely.

Important: Using water on a grease fire could cause the hot oil to splatter and spread the fire.

Most kitchen fires can be prevented simply by paying attention to the stove. Stovetop cooking should never be left unattended. While cooking, check the food on the stove or in the oven often.

Use a burner that is the right size for the pan. Using a burner that is too large can cause the pan and its contents to heat too quickly, leading to a boil-over, scorching and burning.

Do not increase temperature to shorten the cooking time.

Keep loose hair, clothing, dish towels, pot holders and the like away from the stove. Keep mitt-type pot holders handy to place a lid on a burning pot.

If you have young children, create a kid-free zone of 3 feet around the stove, and supervise older children as they cook.

The kitchen fan and its filters are grease collectors and they, too, can be fire hazards. The filter should be washed in hot water and detergent monthly. Also, at least once a year, clean the fan hood with hot water.