Cooking fires are the top cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- Simmering, baking or roasting? Check food regularly, stay in the kitchen while it's cooking, and use a timer.
- Be alert. Don't let kids or teleworking tasks distract you from monitoring your cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop. This includes oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, and curtains.
- Sleepy or have had alcohol? Don't use the stove or stovetop.
- Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires.
If You Have a Cooking Fire
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire: Be sure others get out and you have a clear way out.
- Smother small grease fires by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop. Keep the pan covered until it has completely cooled.
Check Your Heating System
There are a few things homeowners can do to ensure their heating systems are well maintained and safe to use:
- Regularly replace furnace filters.
- Keep areas around your furnace free of clutter and combustible material. Never set items on top of your furnace.
- Keep combustible materials a safe distance from vent/exhaust lines.
- If you notice any issues with your home heating system, contact a professional immediately. Certified HVAC contractors often offer preventative care services that include cleaning that reduce fire risk but have the added benefit of reducing utility costs.
Modern and older fireplaces have a way of collecting dirt and debris over their lifetimes. It's important to keep fireplaces clear of debris and schedule annual inspections before use. If your home is equipped with a gas fireplace, have all the lines and connections inspected before use. In addition to these recommendations, here are a few other helpful tips:
- Fireplace screens, guards, or glass doors are helpful safety devices to keep hot ash and sparks contained inside the fireplace.
- Spare wood, and other combustibles should be stored at least five feet away from the fireplace.
- Do not overload a fireplace.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Burn seasoned hardwoods that have been stored in a safe and dry environment for at least six months.
There are things we can do to lessen the likelihood of an electrical fire in our homes:
- Have electrical work done by a qualified electrician
- Buying or remodeling? Get it inspected
- Use only one heat-producing appliance plugged into a receptacle at a time [heat-producing appliances are things like coffee makers, toasters, and microwaves]
- Plug major appliances directly into the wall outlet
- Don't run electrical cords across doorways or under outlets
If you see any of these, call an electrician or your landlord right away:
- Frequent problems with blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
- Tingling feeling when touching an appliance
- Discolored/warm wall outlets
- Burning/rubbery smell coming from an appliance
- Flickering/dimming lights
- Sparks from an outlet
Smoking poses a fire danger not just to the person who smokes, but to everyone. One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.
- Smoke outside
- Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other items up high and out of the reach of children
- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray and keep it away from anything that can burn
- Don't toss cigarettes into mulch, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, or leaves
- Make sure butts and ashes are fully out before thrown away; the best way to do this is to douse them in water or sand
- Never smoke where medical oxygen is used
Battery failures on e-cigarettes have led to small explosions.
- Never leave charging e-cigarettes unattended
- Use e-cigarettes with caution
Candles are a major cause of home fires. When burning candles, be sure to do it safely:
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed
- Avoid using candles in the bedroom or where people tend to sleep
- Keep candles at least 1 foot away from items that can burn
- Use sturdy candle holders
- Keep hair and loose clothing away from the flame, especially when lighting
- Don't burn a candle all the way down; put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container
- Never burn candles if oxygen is used in the home
- Use flashlights and battery-powered lighting during a power outage