Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, the NFPA says. Each year, hundreds of people in the United States are killed in fires that involve cooking equipment and thousands more are injured. Annually, these fires result in more than half a billion dollars in direct property damage to homes and their contents.
NFPA offers these tips for safer cooking:
Stand by your pan
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
- If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep in mind that you should avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
- Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
- If you have young children, use the stove's back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.
- Never hold a small child while cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fireâ€”pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtainsâ€”away from your stove top.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and the stove top.