Preventing Kitchen Fires
When we think of our kitchens, many of us think about the smells and tastes of our favorite foods, time together with friends and family, or even the dishes that may be waiting to be washed. However, we rarely think about the importance of knowing how to help prevent fires.
Here are a few tips to prevent kitchen fires from Perennial, Safe Electricity, and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA):
- Keep appliances in good working order, and only purchase appliances that are tested and approved by certified safety labs such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Intertek (ETL), or Canadian Standards Association (CBA).
- Never leave cooking unattended, and always stay alert while cooking. According to the USFA, this is the leading cause of kitchen fires.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—like oven mitts, wooden utensils, or food packaging—away from the stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothes or loose sleeves while cooking.
- Only use microwave-safe containers—glass, ceramic, or plastic—for microwave use. Never use metal or aluminum foil.
- Do not use appliances with frayed or damaged cords.
- Do not plug too many appliances into one outlet, and never use an extension cord for appliances.
- Make sure Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are installed in all kitchen outlets.
- Make sure to have smoke alarms around the house equipped with charged batteries.
In the kitchen, there is always the potential for fire no matter how many precautions are taken. Here are a few safety tips when it comes to small, contained fires in the kitchen, offered by Perennial, Safe Electricity, and the USFA:
- In the case of a grease fire, never try to douse the flames; always smother.
- If the oven catches fire, turn off the heat, and keep the door closed.
- With microwave fires, turn it off immediately, and keep the door closed. Unplug if you can.
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll.
- After a fire, check and service appliances before used again.
If the fire is not contained, make sure to get out of the house using your planned fire escape route, and call the fire department.
For more electrical safety information, visit SafeElectricity.org.