Fire Prevention Profile: Kitchen Fires
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in the United States and the dangers only rise as we get into the holiday season. So, (since October is Fire Prevention Month) now is a good time to learn more about these incidents and what you can do to prevent them.
The statistics when it comes to kitchen fires are stark. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking accounts for about 47% of home fires, 20% of fire-related deaths and 45% of the fire-related injuries reported across the country each year. The NFPA says Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and then Christmas Eve.
Luckily, there are many simple steps home chefs can take to avoid these fires. One big step? Always watch what you’re cooking. The NFPA tells us one third of kitchen fires happen when a person leaves the equipment they’re using unattended. So, particularly if you’re using the stove top, stay in the kitchen and watch closely. If you’re using the oven, experts advise checking in regularly.
It’s important to remember, kitchen fires don’t just happen when food burns, anything flammable can catch fire if it’s too close to the heat. So, keep anything like oven mitts, dish cloths and paper towels AWAY from heat sources.
We have saved the BIGGEST culprit of cooking fires for last: frying. The NFPA says frying dominates the cooking fire problem. So, the Association has some advice you’ll want to follow this holiday season (and, of course, all year long):
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying.
- If you see smoke coming off the food you’re frying, turn off the burner or safely remove the pan from the burner. Smoke it a sign the oil is too hot.
- Slowly heat the oil to the temperature you need.
- Add food to the oil gently so that it does not splatter.
- Always keep a lid beside your pan. If the pan does catch fire, cover it with the lid and turn off the banner. Let the oil cool before removing the lid again.
- NEVER put water on a grease fire. If a fire starts to spread, leave the house immediately and call 911.
Now you know a little bit more about how to stand the heat and stay in the kitchen SAFELY. Team SERVPRO of East Brown County wishes everyone in the Green Bay area and beyond a very safe and happy holiday season!