Cooking Can Be Dangerous!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 4 out of 5 fire deaths every year occur in the home.  From 2010 – 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 166,100 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment. These fires caused an average of 480 civilian fire deaths, 5,540 civilian fire injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage each year.  Almost half of the injuries and deaths related to these fires was unattended cooking.

Cooking fires by the numbers (Based on 2011-2015 annual averages) 

  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home* fires and fire injuries, causing 47% of home fires that resulted in 20% of the home fire deaths and 45% of the injuries. 

  • Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. 

  • Clothing is the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions lead to 18% of the home cooking equipment fire deaths. 

  • Ranges or cooktops account for the majority (62%) of home cooking fire incidents. 

  • Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (33%) of reported home cooking fires and half (43%) of the associated deaths. 

  • Frying dominates the cooking fire problem. 

  • Safety considerations for cooking with oil 

    • Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.  

    • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.  

    • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.  

    • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.  

    • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.  

    • If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.  

The Euclid Fire Department asks that when you cook, remain in the kitchen and attend to your meal.  Your life, as well as the lives of others in your home and/or apartment building are at increased risk of injury or death when you leave your cooking food unattended. 

In the unfortunate event that there is a fire in your home or apartment, notify others in the home and evacuate as quickly and as safely as possible.  Be sure to call 911 as soon as it is safe.  It is also EXTREMELY important to CLOSE ANY DOORS BEHIND YOU as this will help keep the fire and smoke from spreading to other portions of the home and give you more time to get out.   

In an apartment building, closing your apartment door gives you and other residents more time to escape by helping contain the fire and smoke to the apartment, and limits the damage to the hall and other apartments.  Be sure to pull the fire alarm on your way out.  This notifies other residents of the danger and allows them time to escape. 

Please understand it is important to call 911 even if the fire alarm is sounding in the building.  Some fire alarms only ring in the building and do not notify the fire department.

Fire Prevention Week is October 7-13, 2018.  Visit or #firepreventionweek for more information.

Sources: NFPA's Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment and Home Structure Fires reports. 

* Homes include one- and two-family homes, apartments (regardless of ownership), and manufactured housing.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 12:13 PM, 09.07.2018