Holiday Safety: Cooking Fires

Staying Safe While Cooking
Year after year cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries. The holiday season brings a heightened emphasis on cooking, but you can have a safe holiday by staying at the stove while you are cooking. In a recent study released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 6 out of 7 cooking fires occurred while the cook was out of the kitchen, and 2/3rds of these fires happened in the first 15 minutes of cooking.

The easiest way to offset this hazard is to plan other holiday functions that can be done in the kitchen. Have friends over for a cookie-making party, make decorations or wrap presents at the kitchen table. The simplest way to keep you and your guests in the kitchen is to provide drinks and snacks in there.

The NFPA advises these safety steps during cooking:
  • Don’t leave a stove or oven that is on unattended.
  • Roll up sleeves and don’t wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Ban children and pets from a 3-foot “safe zone” around the stove
  • Keep pot handles turned in to avoid spills
  • Keep potholders, dishtowels, food packaging and other clutter off the stove.
  • Clean cooking equipment thoroughly because built-up grease can catch fire.
People often try to put out cooking fires themselves with a fire extinguisher or even water. But done improperly the fire can be spread to other parts of the kitchen. Never use water on any grease fire. The best way to combat a stove fire is to have a lid handy to put over the pan. If the fire is in your oven just close the door and turn off the oven. Any time you are unsure of how to combat a fire your best option is to leave and call the fire department.

Cooking fires are the most common cause of home fires, but are also the easiest to prevent by following the tips above. For more information on cooking fires or holiday fire safety you can call the Liberty Fire Department at 816-439-4310.