Residential fires are a serious cause for concern, especially when you
have to worry about losing your children, your loved ones, or your pets
in a home fire. According to the
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and
home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended
The NFPA has this advice for everyone about cooking safety:
- Be alert while you’re cooking! Do not use the stove or stovetop if
you’re fatigued or have been drinking alcohol.
- Stay inside the kitchen while you’re boiling, frying, grilling, or broiling.
- If you’re baking, roasting, or simmering food, check it frequently
and stay in the kitchen while the food is still cooking.
- When cooking, use a timer to remind you.
- Keep flammables like oven mitts, food packaging, paper towels, hand towels,
curtains, and wooden utensils away from the stovetop.
- Smother grease fires with a lid. Cover the fire with a lid and turn off
the stovetop. Keep the pan covered with the lid until everything has cooled
- If there is a fire in the oven, turn off the heat, and do not open the
door; keep it shut!
- If there is a microwave fire, close the microwave door and unplug the microwave.
If a fire ignites while you’ve been cooking, the NFPA says to get
out and call 911! When you run out of the house, close the door behind
you as this will help contain the fire. If you do try to
fight the fire, make sure everyone in the house gets outside and you have a clear path
When Faulty Appliances Cause Fires
Aside from cooking, another cause of kitchen fires is faulty appliances.
Consumer Reports, “The Consumer Product Safety Commission, using estimates from 2006
through 2008, says that major appliances caused more than 150,000 residential
fires each year, resulting in 3,670 injuries, 150 deaths, and $547 million
dollars in property damage. (If you experience an appliance fire, report
it to SaferProducts.gov, a CPSC website.”
Of course, human error plays a role in some small appliance fires, but after
Consumer Reports conducted an in-depth analysis of federal fire date, it found that only
about half of appliance fires can be blamed on human mistakes, such as
unattended cooking as we mentioned earlier.
“Much of the rest appear to be due to problems with the
appliances themselves, according to our review of safety records, fire reports, and
court documents,” says CR. Often, faulty appliances that catch fire
turn into product liability lawsuits, a breed of personal injury law.
How Can I Avoid an Electrical Fire in My Home?