|Cooking related fires are one of the national and local leading causes of fires in the home. Nationally, cooking fires result in 31,200 fires and causing $170 million in damages every year. Kitchen and cooking fires comprise 43% of all structural fires nationally each year. These fires can also be easily prevented.
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Cooking safety tips:
- 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, stay in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels, curtains–away from your stove top.
- Keep the stove top, burners, and oven clean.
- Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or an electric burner.
- Keeping Children and Pets Away from the Cooking Area. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
- Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby counter tops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
- Always use cooking equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and code requirements when installing cooking equipment.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning and operating cooking equipment.
- Place or install the microwave oven at a safe height within easy reach of all users. If possible, the face of the person using the microwave oven should be higher than the front of the microwave oven door to reduce the risk of a scald.
- Always supervise children when they are using the microwave oven.
- Use only microwave-safe cookware (containers or dishes). Never use aluminum foil or metal objects in a microwave oven.
- Open microwaved food slowly and away from the face. Hot steam escaping from a container of microwaved food or the food itself can cause burns.
- Never heat a baby bottle in a microwave oven because it heats liquids unevenly. Heat baby bottles in warm water from the faucet.
- Always keep a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
- Never pour water on a cooking pan grease fire.
- Baking soda can work to extinguish grease fires if sprinkled on top of the fire.
- In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed until it is cool. After a fire, the oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.
- When in doubt, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. After you leave, call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbor’s telephone.
- If you know how to use a portable fire extinguisher and are capable of fighting the fire, be sure others are already getting out and that you have a clear path to the way out. Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from outside the home.