According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 75.7 percent of fire-related deaths in the US between 2003 and 2012 occurred in residential properties. The largest percentage of those deaths were due to home cooking fires. The breakdown of causes and relative frequency of residential fires are:
- Cooking: 48.7 percent
- Heating: 12.1 percent
- Carelessness: 5.6 percent
- All other: 33.6 percent
The good news: the percentage of residential fire-related deaths has gradually dropped over the same time period — and if everyone follows a few safety guidelines, the rates are likely to drop more. The American Red Cross lists some suggestions for avoiding kitchen fires.
- Never leave cooking food unattended, which is particularly important when you're frying food.
- Use a timer to remind you when food is in the oven, especially if you have to leave the kitchen.
- Keep flammable materials away from the stove. This includes loose clothes and oven mitts hanging nearby. Clean greasy build up from the surrounding area.
- Keep young children away from the cooking area.
- Install a smoke alarm in the kitchen and be sure it works. Test it regularly and change the batteries at least every year.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Make sure it’s rated for grease fires and learn how to properly use it before a fire ignites.
For any stove or oven fire, turn off the heat immediately. When a grease fire ignites in a pan, cover the pan with a lid to cut the oxygen feeding the fire. Only touch the pan using a mitt; do not move it to another location. Don't use water on a grease fire. Remember, putting water on hot grease causes the flaming grease to splatter.
When there is a fire of any kind, the lives of the residents in the vicinity are the most important concern. When in doubt, get out. Evacuate the house as quickly as possible, shut the door and call 911.
Visit the National Fire Protection Association website for additional cooking fire safety information.
Protect your family. Call Berger Briggs Insurance at 505-247-0444 for more information on Tampa home insurance