At the end of a day, do you usually find yourself in the kitchen? It can be a wonderfully versatile place—a place for family and friends to gather, for quality time to be spent and where some delicious eats are cooked up. Yet, unfortunately, the kitchen is also the space where many home fires occur.
Cooking fires rank No. 1 as the source of home fires and injuries, with the leading cause of these kitchen fires reported as unattended cooking.
State Farm paid out over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims related to grease and other cooking fires in 2017. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:
- North Carolina
- New York
Staying in the kitchen while cooking is just one of the fire safety precautions you should be observing. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:
1. Watch the type of clothing you wear when cooking. Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.
2. Flammable items should be kept away from stovetop. Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything flammable will be moved away from it.
3. Have your home equipped with a fire extinguisher in/near the kitchen. Hopefully you have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home, ideally one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.
4. Resist from throwing hot grease into the garbage can. The grease may not be on fire, but it could be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.
5. Make sure there is a fire escape plan established. In the interest of safety, thinking about worst-case scenarios can prepare you and your family for emergency if one were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.
Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Northwest Long Beach is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”