Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
What you should know about home cooking safety
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill.
Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker*, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.
In 2011 – 2015, fire departments went to an annual average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,100 structure fires and 5,500 outside or unclassified fires.
Grilling by the numbers
- July is the peak month for grill fires (17%), including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires, followed by May (14%), June (14%) and August (13%).
- In 2012-2016, an average of 16,600 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.** Half (8,200 or 49%) of the injuries were thermal burns.
- Children under five accounted for an average of 1,600 or one-third (35%) of the 4,500 thermal non-fire grill burns.These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.
- Gas grills were involved in an average of 7,900 home fires per year, including 3,300 structure fires and 4,700 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills.Twelve percent of gas grill structure fires and 24% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
- Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 700 outside fires annually.
Source: NFPA's Research, Data & Analytics Division
* Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA)
**Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, queried in April 2016