How to Avoid Cooking Fires

Woman in a kitchen looking into her oven as smoke and bright light from fire escapes from the open oven door.

With over 172,000 fires occurring each year due to cooking activities, fire safety and prevention are essential parts of kitchen safety. With a few practical steps and some basic awareness, you and your family can decrease your risk of cooking fires this winter.

What Causes Most Cooking Fires?

Everyday cooking fires happen in the US for a variety of reasons:

  • Leaving the stove unattended
  • Cooking around combustible items
  • Forgetting to turn off cooking equipment or unintentionally turning it on

These cooking fires lead to over 2,000 deaths and nearly 10,000 injuries annually. Some other common causes include setting cooking temperatures too high and frying with too much oil. Before you prep that pan, be mindful of what you’re cooking and how intensely you’re cooking it.


Preventing cooking fires infographic


How to Avoid Holiday Fires

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

Preventing cooking fires starts with always being aware of your immediate surroundings. This means being aware of where your kids are at all times, keeping highly flammable items away from all hot cooking surfaces, and ensuring there are no tripping hazards nearby. In addition, make sure you’re turning your pot and pan handles towards the inside of your cooking surface so they can’t be knocked off the stove accidentally.

Take time to recognize and anticipate anything else in your surroundings that may affect your cooking safety: where are your pets? Can you put them in a separate room until you’re finished cooking? Do you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is?

Taking the time to anticipate what could go wrong will pay off handsomely in the long run—in the form of zero injuries and zero repair bills.

Never Leave Cooking Unattended

This goes without saying, but you should never leave your cooking and hot surfaces unattended. This is especially true if you have flammable objects nearby, like oven mitts, towels, and anything else that may easily catch fire if splashed by boiling water or another hot substance.

A significant portion of cooking fires are thanks to fryers, which cause nearly $15 million in property damage annually. If you plan on using a fryer, make sure someone is always watching it.

Stay Aware of Splashes

A lesser-known cause of cooking fires is splashes from boiling water and other hot substances. All it takes is a flammable item in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’re trying to cook too many things at the same time, the chances of a cooking fire caused by a bad splash may increase.

To prevent splashing, the best thing to do is to keep your pots and pans covered with lids whenever possible. Be mindful of your surroundings and remove any flammable items from your cooking surfaces.

What To Do If Your Oven or Microwave Starts Burning

If you notice that whatever you’re cooking inside your oven is starting to burn with visible flames, keep the door closed, turn off the heat, and immediately call 911 or your local fire department. Likewise, if your microwave food starts burning with visible flames, keep the door closed, turn it off, and call for help. Have your oven and/or microwave serviced by a professional before you use it again.

When Disaster Strikes, Royal Renovations Strikes Back

If you find yourself suffering from the unfortunate ramifications of a cooking fire this year, Royal Renovations can help. As a full-service disaster restoration company, we understand the impact disaster has on a household, and we’ll help you restore your damaged areas in a prompt, friendly, and professional manner. Contact us online to learn more.

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