Cooking fires in the US: A state-by-state analysis reveals risk hotspots

March 19, 2024
kitchen cooking oven fire

Understanding the risk of cooking fires in American homes

Annually, cooking fires in residential areas are responsible for 153 deaths, 3,225 injuries, and nearly $477 million in damages.

A study by claimguide.org, utilizing data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), alongside a survey of 1,500 Americans, provides insight into the states most affected by cooking fires, as well as common safety oversights in the kitchen.

The Northeast leads in cooking fire incidents

The research reveals that Massachusetts experiences the highest number of cooking fires per capita in the United States, with an average of 13,137 incidents annually or 188.2 fires per 100,000 residents.

The Northeast, in general, occupies seven out of the top ten positions for cooking fire prevalence, with New York, Delaware, and New Jersey following closely behind Massachusetts.

Conversely, Western states like Arizona, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and Idaho report the lowest number of cooking fire incidents, each with an average of fewer than 17 per 100,000 residents annually.

Cooking fire statistics and prevention awareness

Cooking fires account for 48% of all residential fires, claiming an average of 153 lives and causing 3,225 injuries per year.

The survey conducted as part of the study sheds light on alarming trends in kitchen safety: 72% of respondents admitted to leaving the stove unattended, 50% have forgotten to turn off the stovetop after cooking, and 38% lack knowledge on extinguishing grease fires properly.

These figures highlight the importance of awareness and education in preventing cooking-related accidents.

States with the most “careless cooks”

The report categorizes states with the highest density of cities, multifamily apartments, and cramped kitchens as more prone to cooking fires.

For instance, Rhode Island reports 70.6 cooking fires per 100,000 residents, in contrast to Montana’s 15.8.

New York State leads in absolute numbers, with an average of 30,703 cooking fires annually, while Wyoming has the fewest at an average of 112.

Only Massachusetts, New York, and Delaware report over 100 cooking fires per 100,000 residents, with the majority of states documenting fewer than 50.

FSJA Comment

This comprehensive study highlights the critical need for increased awareness and education on kitchen safety practices.

The stark variation in cooking fire incidents across the states underscores the role of living conditions and lifestyle habits in fire safety.

The survey results indicate a widespread lack of knowledge regarding the basic safety measures needed to prevent such fires.

It’s imperative for safety organizations, local governments, and individuals to collaborate on strategies to reduce the risk of cooking fires through improved education, stricter safety standards, and better-designed kitchen environments.

These efforts can significantly decrease the number of injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by cooking fires annually.

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