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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

Revised April 6, 2016         


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