Cooking remains the top cause of home fires in the US, warns American Red Cross

October 11, 2023
kitchen cooking oven fire

American Red Cross highlights risks and provides safety guidelines during Fire Prevention Week

During Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14), the American Red Cross has emphasized that cooking is the main culprit behind US home fires and offers safety advice to avoid such incidents.

For further details, visit the official Red Cross announcement.

Staggering numbers speak to the urgency

Annually, over 170,000 home fires instigated by cooking activities are responded to by fire departments.

The primary cause for these fires is neglecting an active stove.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that cooking-related fires result in hundreds of fatalities, thousands of injuries, and upwards of $1 billion in damages every year.

Essential safety steps to mitigate risks

Understanding the importance of this issue, the American Red Cross suggests ten pivotal steps to ensure kitchen safety:

  1. Stay attentive when frying, grilling, or broiling and remain in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if you need to leave.
  2. Avoid wearing loose garments or long sleeves while preparing meals.
  3. Regularly monitor food that’s simmering, baking, roasting, or broiling.
  4. Employ a timer to keep track of active kitchen appliances.
  5. Ensure children and pets maintain a minimum distance of three feet from active cooking spaces.
  6. Position combustible items like oven mitts, towels, or food packaging away from heat sources.
  7. Frequently clean cooking areas to avoid grease accumulation.
  8. Contemplate obtaining a kitchen fire extinguisher and seek training on its usage from local fire departments.
  9. Before retiring for the night or leaving your residence, confirm all kitchen appliances are turned off.
  10. Install and routinely test smoke alarms, especially near kitchens and sleeping quarters. If batteries are required, change them annually.

For those unable to acquire or install smoke alarms, assistance might be available through the local Red Cross branches.

FSJA Comment

The data revealed by the American Red Cross is a stark reminder of the potential dangers lurking in our own kitchens.

Fire Prevention Week serves as an opportunity to shed light on this pressing issue and educate households on necessary precautions.

The guidelines provided by the Red Cross aren’t just mere suggestions; they are crucial measures that can save lives.

Given the frequency of cooking-related fires, it is imperative for families to integrate these safety practices into their daily routines and foster a safer environment for their loved ones.

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