Preventing Kitchen Fires: Tips on Safe Cooking

Cooking is the leading cause of fires and fire injuries in homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking was involved in some 156,000 home structure fires in the United States between 2007 and 2011. Statistically, these fires caused an annual average of 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 fire injuries, and $853 million in direct property damage. Cooking-related fires also accounted for 43 percent of reported home fires, 38 percent of home fire injuries, 16 percent of home fire deaths, and 12 percent of property damage.

Clearly, there is a need for homeowners to proactively prevent cooking accidents that lead to home fires. At Fire Alarm Houston, we do not only help our clients install effective fire detection and alarm systems, we also promote the importance of minimizing the risk of fire and removing hazards that make fire incidents possible in the first place.

In this article, we share some helpful reminders and tips which you can follow to protect your family and property from such accidents. These recommendations come from organizations like the NFPA and the American Red Cross, groups who work for the common goal of creating safer homes in the United States. 

A frying pan on fire

  • Cook only when you are alert – If you are sleepy or if you have been drinking alcohol, don’t cook.
  • Never leave your cooking unattended – Whether you’re frying, boiling, or grilling, you should never leave your cooking out of sight. If you have to leave the kitchen, remember to turn the stove or oven off first.
  • Use a timer – When baking, simmering, boiling, or roasting food, always use a timer to remind yourself when it’s time to turn off the stove or oven. Never leave the house while you’re cooking.
  • Keep inflammable items away – Keep kitchen towels, cooking mittens, wooden utensils, plastic food packaging, paper bags, clothing, and other inflammable items away from the stove fire.
  • Keep children away – The kitchen should be declared a kid-free zone when you are cooking. They can always enjoy the food after the cooking is done!
  • Don’t overcook – When you are frying and you notice smoke emanating from the pan, that means the oil is too hot. Quickly turn the flame off and wait for the pan and food to cool down. You can avoid grease fires by heating the oil slowly and only until it is hot enough to cook your food.
  • Always have a pot lid beside you – In the event that a grease fire occurs when you are frying, never carry the pan or pot to the sink. Moreover, you should never pour water on the flames. We can’t stress this strongly enough. The water, being heavier than the oil, will sink beneath the latter, but due to it being superheated, it will quickly evaporate. The steam will blow with such explosive force that the burning oil will spread in a ferocious fireball. To extinguish the fire, simply slid the pot lid over the pan or pot in order to deprive the flame of oxygen. You can also use a fire extinguisher.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready – Speaking of fire extinguishers, you should have one in your kitchen. Make sure that you know how to operate the device and that it is in proper working condition and not expired.
  • Keep cooking surfaces clean – Always clean the surface of your stove and the interiors of your oven after every use to prevent the buildup of grease or oil.
  • Check your kitchen – Make sure that all stoves, ovens, and electronic appliances are turned off before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Install a fire detection and alarm system – Fire safety professionals from Fire Alarm Houston can help you build a fire detection and alarm infrastructure that can give you early warning when a fire breaks out in your kitchen or elsewhere in your house.

To learn more about our products and services, please call 832-626-7837 or send us a message through our contact page. Our service area includes the city of Houston and other communities in Fort Bend and Harris counties in Texas.