The holidays are just around the corner and with the beginning of football season individuals will be entertaining more than usual by cooking their favorite dishes to share with family and friends, but with an increase in cooking there’s the potential for an increase in cooking fires.
Cooking fires is the number one cause of home fires and injuries. In 2011, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home structure fires that resulted in 470 deaths, 5,390 injuries and $1 billion in property damage. Unattended cooking was a key factor in 34% of reported home cooking fires with two-thirds of those fires started by the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Ranges accounted for 58% of home cooking incidents and ovens accounted for 16% of those incidents.
Home cooking fires peak during major U.S. holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and Easter. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with three times as many fires occurring on that day than any other holiday.
To keep you and your family safe, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue would like to remind you to Look When You Cook:
Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking.
Turn off the stove, if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time.
If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly.
o Remain in the home while food is cooking,
o Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove, i.e. oven mitts, wooden utensils, food
packaging, towels or curtain.
Have a 3 foot “Kid-free zone” around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is being prepared.
NEVER throw water on a grease fire! If possible, cover the pot/pan with a lid to smother the fire and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
For oven fires, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
For microwave fires, leave the door closed, turn the oven off and unplug it from the wall.
If the fire does not go out, get outside and call 911.