Rushford Volunteer Fire Department
P.O. Box 223
8911 Upper Street
Rushford, New York 14777

Phone/Fax: 585-437-2522


Focus on Fire: Cooking Fires

The Facts

  • Cooking equipment was involved in 31 percent of home structure fires reported in 2003.
  • Males face a disproportionate risk of cooking fire injury relative to the amount of cooking they do.
  • Young children and older adults face a higher risk of death from cooking fires than do other age groups.
  • Young children are at high risk from non-fire cooking-related burns.
  • Unattended cooking is the single leading factor contributing to cooking fires.
  • Many other cooking fires begin because combustibles are too close to cooking heat sources.
  • Frying is the cooking method posing the highest risk.
  • More than half of home cooking injuries occur when people try to fight the fire themselves.
  • Educational effectiveness may be enhanced by linking burn prevention and fire prevention.
  • Technology may be the best long-term solution to dealing with the cooking fire problem.

Source: Behavioral Mitigation of Cooking Fires

Focus on Fire Safety: Cooking Fires

When cooking, stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on the stove.

Fires resulting from cooking continue to be the most common type of fire experienced by U.S. households. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of civilian fire injuries in residences. These fires are preventable by simply being more attentive to the use of cooking materials and equipment.

Don’t become a cooking fire casualty. Learn the facts about cooking fire safety today!

Safe Cooking Tips

The kitchen can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the home if you don’t practice safe cooking behaviors. Here are some safety tips to help:

Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Cooking Safety Tips

If You Have a Cooking Fire

Source: NFPA Cooking Safety Tips

Nuisance Smoke Alarms

If a smoke alarm sounds during normal cooking, you may need to move it farther away from the kitchen (according to manufacturer’s instructions) and/or install a smoke alarm with a pause button.

If your alarm already has a pause button, push the pause button, open the door or window, and fan the area around the alarm with a towel to get the air moving. Do not disable the smoke alarm or take the batteries out!

Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.

Charcoal Grills

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store it out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

Propane Grills

  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. 
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.  Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD).  OPD devices are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.

Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages.  If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.

Barbecue Grills

Stovetop and oven fires are not the only types of cooking fires. As the weather gets warmer, more people will begin to use barbecue grills. While many of the safety tips are similar to indoor cooking, there are special concerns with barbecue grills.

Burns and Scalds

In 2006, hospital emergency rooms treated around 29,850 thermal burns and 8,460 burns caused by cooking equipment. Ranges accounted for 62% of these thermal burns and grills 28%. Microwaves accounted for 41% of the scald burns. (Source: NFPA)

Because microwaves are the leading cause of scald burns, be extra careful when opening a heated food container. Heat food in containers that are marked ‘microwave safe.’ Since foods heat unevenly in the microwave, make sure you stir and test the food before eating.

Protecting Children from Scalds and Burns

As the statistics suggest, young children are at a high risk of being burned by hot food and liquid. You can help prevent these injuries by following a few basic tips:

Also, teach children that hot things burn!

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