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Fire Prevention Week: Cooking Safety Tips

Oct 10th, 2023

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is October 8 -14, 2023. It is an essential time to reflect on the safety measures we take in our homes, particularly in the kitchen. Cooking is one of the leading causes of house fires, sparking more than 150,000 fires every year, injuring thousands and killing hundreds in the process. This fact might seem surprising, but when you consider the heat, flammable materials, and often distracted cooks in a kitchen, it’s a recipe for potential disaster. Let’s discuss practical ways to keep your loved ones and yourself safe when cooking or baking. 

Never Leave Cooking Unattended 

One of the simplest ways to prevent kitchen fires is to stay in the kitchen while cooking. If you need to leave, even for a short period, turn off the stove. It’s easy to get distracted and forget that you left something on the burner. 

Keep Flammable Materials Away From the Stove 

Tea towels, oven mitts, paper towels–these everyday items can quickly catch fire if they come into contact with a hot stove. Keep a clear space around your stovetop and oven, and always check the area for loose items before cooking. 

Stay Alert While Cooking 

If you’re tired, have taken medication that makes you drowsy, or have consumed alcohol, it’s better to avoid cooking until you have recovered. Drowsiness can lead to carelessness, and that’s when accidents happen. 

Be Mindful of Pot Handles 

A pot handle hanging over the edge of the stovetop is an accident (and possible fire) waiting to happen. Turn the pot handles inward toward the back of the stove to keep your kids or yourself from bumping them accidentally. 

Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy 

A fire extinguisher in the kitchen could make the difference between a minor incident and a devastating house fire. Keep one close. Know where it is and how to use it, and check regularly to ensure it’s in good working order. 

If a Small Fire Happens on the Stove or in the Oven… 

Grease fires are common when cooking, especially if the food gets too hot. If a small fire occurs in a pan or a baking dish, you may be able to extinguish it before things get out of control. Either way, the goal is to deprive the fire of heat and oxygen.

  • For stovetop grease fires in a pot or pan – slide the lid over the pot/pan, turn off the heat, and wait until the pan is completely cooled before lifting the lid.
  • For oven fires – close the oven door, turn off the heat, and wait until it cools.
  • For any other fires (or whenever you’re in doubt) – use the fire extinguisher and call 911. 

Fire Prevention Week with Ogborn Mihm LLP

If you or someone you love is injured in a cooking fire that was caused by someone’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation to cover your losses. Call our offices to schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys.