According to statistics, 30 percent of all reported home fires start in the kitchen, and of those, most involve the range-top. That is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Safety Council, Underwriters Laboratories and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers are teaming up over the holiday season to spread the word about prevention of cooking fires.
The sad truth is that in nearly 75 percent of reported home fires, especially those originating in the kitchen, the person responsible for the fire was not in the area when it started, according to Underwriter Laboratories. The best tip is to urge everyone to pay attention to what’s cooking, especially during the busy holiday season.
The three not-for-profit organizations and CPSC offer these tips to help prevent kitchen fires this holiday season:
- Smoke detectors save lives. Make sure smoke detectors are installed and working. Never disconnect a smoke detector while cooking.
- Supervision is key. Never leave food unattended while cooking. Keep children and pets away from cooking area.
- Roll ‘em up. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto burners and catch fire.
- Too hot to handle? Use thick, dry, flame-resistant potholders when handling lids and pans. When removing pot and pan lids, tilt them away from you to protect your face and hands from steam.
- Keep away from the heat. Turn the handles of pots and pans in, but away from hot burners.
- It’s not a closet. Never use the oven for storage.
- It’s made for food. Never use it to heat a room.
- Keep it clean. Keep the cooking area clean and clear of anything that can burn.
- Keep a cool head. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan is cooled. Never use water or flour to extinguish a grease fire and never carry the pan outside – you could spread flames throughout the apartment.
- Use the right tools. If you’re familiar with using a multi-purpose fire extinguisher, keep one handy in the event of a grease fire. Baking soda is effective for extinguishing small food fires, but not grease fires.
- Prevent flame spread. If you have an oven fire, immediately turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
- Call for help. If you can’t extinguish the fire yourself, leave your home, call 9-1-1, and wait in a safe place until emergency personnel arrive.
Consumers can receive a free brochure with safety tips by calling 1-888-785-7233 (SAFE).
Special thanks to The National Safety Council for these great kitchen safety tips!