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Kitchen Fire Prevention

Kitchen Fire Prevention

Kitchen Fire Prevention

Cooking is a regular process, and it’s easy to overlook high temperatures that could quickly start a fire. In 2017-2021, cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and injuries from fires at home and the second-leading cause of deaths from fires in homes. The cooking fires caused an average of 158,400 home fires each calendar year (44 percent ) of reported fires in homes across the US. Cooktops or ranges were the cause of 53 percent of reported fires at home as well, and cooking fires accounted for 88 percent of deaths and 74 percent of injuries from cooking fires. Electric ranges in households had higher risks of cooking fires and the resulting damages than those who had gas ranges. Cooking without supervision was the most significant cause of fire and casualties. Clothing was the primary item that ignited in fewer than 1% of these fires. However, the ignition of clothing was responsible for 7 percent of home-cooked fire deaths. Over one-quarter of the victims of the cooking flames had fallen asleep at the time they died or were injured. Over half of fatal injuries occurred as people tried to stop the fire themselves.

Recent Trends in Cooking Fires

Data suggests that the number of cooking fires reported began to fall in 1981 and then slowed before dropping again in the early 1990s. NFIRS 5.0, which was introduced at the end of 1999, made it easier to report small cooking fires (referred to as “confined fires) that did not extend beyond the oven, pan, or any other vessel in which the fire started. In the period of transition between 1999 and 2001 — the time during which NFIRS 5.0 was first implemented — only about half the data on fires was collected according to the new definitions and rules. As a result, the data was not included in the trend graphs. The introduction of NFIRS 5.0 was followed by an increased number of reported cooking fires. After a dip for a couple of years, the number of cooking fires climbed to record highs between 2012 and 2015. In 2016 and 2017, the number of fires was lower than the levels in 2014 and 2015. However, they remained generally high. In 2021, the amount of cooking fires that were reported fell to the lowest levels seen since 2005. The changes to NFIRS could have had an impact on certain trends. There were fewer fire deaths in the kitchen between 1980 and 2017 than there were in the years 1980-84. It appears, however, that there has been less progress made towards reducing deaths due to cooking fires at home in comparison to deaths from all other causes of fire.
During 2017-2021, fire departments were able to respond to an estimated number of 158,400 cooking fires in homes every year. The fires resulted in the equivalent of around 470 deaths among civilians and 4150 injuries sustained by civilians, as well as $1.15 billion in direct property damage each year. Cooking was the cause of two in five reported fires in homes (44 percent), injuries from fires in homes (42 percent) and one in five fire-related home deaths (18 percent). Cooking is the primary reason for reported home fires and fire injuries. It was also the second most common cause of death from home fires.

Home Cooking Fires

Unsupervised cooking was the leading cause of cooking fires as well as cooking fire injuries. Material that was discarded or abandoned that could be related to unsupervised cooking is ranked as second in the cause of cooking fires, and third in the number of cooking fire deaths and injuries. In a similar scenario, combustible objects such as potholders, wrappers, or clothes caught on fire when placed in or close to cooking equipment that was hot. Over one-quarter of the fatal victims of cooking fires and more than 40 percent of those who were not fatally injured were located in the area where the fire started. It isn’t unusual that more than a quarter of fatalities occurred in the ignition, but not in the vicinity that caused the fire. Most likely, these were cooks who had left the kitchen. Certain types of cooking techniques, such as broiling, frying, or boiling, require continuous focus. While cooking, baking cooking, or baking must remain in the kitchen and observe the cooking on a regular basis. Certain types of cooking techniques, like broiling, frying, or boiling, require constant focus. When baking, simmering and roasting cooks need to remain in the kitchen and observe the cooking process regularly. It is not surprising that nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of home cooking fires started when there was an ignition caused by cooking ingredients such as food grease, and fat. Small flames from a fire in oil or grease can be put out by placing a cover over the pan and then turning off the stove. The pan must remain covered until entirely cool.

The majority of reported cooking fires were not large. About four out of five (80 percent) were contained to the pan or object that started the fire. Four percent of fatalities from cooking and a third (35 percent) of all reported injuries from cooking resulted from these small-scale fires. A quarter (28 percent) of home cooking fire deaths as well as 82 % of kitchen fire injuries resulting from cooking resulted from the fires that were contained to the area where the fire started. About 1/3 (31 percent) of reported fires in homes were located within multifamily homes or apartment housing, but these homes comprised nearly fifty percent (47 percent) of all reported fires from cooking at home. Cooking was the cause of 37 percent of fires that occurred in one- or two-family dwellings, and 72 percent of fires that occurred in apartments and other multifamily properties. Four minor fires in homes equipped with monitored fire alarm systems could be more likely to cause a fire department response. These alarms are more prevalent in apartments than in single-family or two-family houses. More than three out of the five fires that occurred in apartments were cook-related fires that did not grow.

Unsurprisingly, fires from cooking are at their peak between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. During this time people are likely cooking dinner. 17 percent of fires that were reported during the hours of 11:00 p.m.-7:00 a.m. were responsible for 19% of deaths. The effects of sleep and alcohol or drug-related impairment were the most frequent causes of the late-night fires. Cooking while fatigued or impaired by alcohol is risky. There is a chance that some of the fires that are coded as “unattended or unsupervised” resulted from unsupervised cooking. According to the NFIRS 5.0 Comprehensive Reference Guide notes that “unattended or unsupervised” encompasses latchkey situations, regardless of whether the individual involved is old or young, as well as cases in which the individual involved was not supervised. Christmas along with Christmas Eve, is ranked as the second most popular holiday where there are numerous house fires due to unattended cooking.

Smoke Alarms for Cooking

A functioning smoke alarm is vital to notify anyone who is not in the kitchen area of the possibility of a fire. Smoke alarms are much more likely to be in place and operational during cooking-related fires more than other fires in homes. The reason for this could be due to the fire department’s responses caused by smoke detectors activated by small cooking fires. Without this monitoring, many incidents like these could be handled by people living in the home without assistance from the fire department. This is especially true for apartments that are more likely to be equipped with smoke detectors than one-family homes. If it is possible, smoke alarms should be set at a distance of at least 20ft from the cooking range. If that’s not feasible the smoke alarms that are placed between 10 and 20 feet from the stove must have a hush function, which temporarily decreases the sensitivity of the alarm. Alternatively, it should have the use of a photoelectric sensor. 

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cooking fires,fire prevention,house fires,kitchen fire prevention,national fire prevention week,prevention facts,prevention tips
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