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Preventing Cooking Fires

Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires in the U.S. Three in every 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen - more than any other place in the home. Keep an eye on your cooking, and watch children closely in the kitchen.

Fire officials offer these important tips:

  • Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease buildup.
  • Don't cook if you're under the influence of alcohol, taking a medication that causes drowsiness, or fatigued.
  • Keep curtains, towels and potholders away from hot surfaces.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire; wear short or tight-fitting sleeves.

If a cooking fire occurs:

  • Call 911.
  • If the fire is a grease or oil fire, slide a lid over the flames to smother them, then turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools.
  • Extinguish other food fires with baking soda; never use water or flour.
  • Keep the oven door shut, and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.
  • Keep your smoke alarms in working order.

To prevent a microwave oven fire, never put anything metallic in the microwave. If a fire occurs, keep the microwave oven's door closed and unplug it.

Detailed information about preventing cooking fires is available through the National Fire Prevention Association.

Revised April 24, 2014

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