Kitchen Fires: How to Prevent and Put out the Flames

Firefighter putting out a kitchen fireLearn to prevent a kitchen fire so you don't have to get the fire department involved. Image: Scott Leman/Shutterstock

Kitchen fires are eminently preventable. Here’s how to stay safe now and during the holidays when you really put your oven and stove through their paces.

I was troubled to see so many kitchen fires crowding the news today — especially since Sunday begins Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15).

Cooking fires, primarily started on ranges or in ovens, cause 40% of all house fires, and 36% of all fire-related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Frying poses the greatest risk, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires.

So let’s stay safe. Follow these easy safety tips, courtesy of the NFPA.

How to prevent a kitchen fire

1. Be alert. If you’re tired or tipsy, don’t use the stove or oven.

2. Never leave the kitchen — even for a short time — when food is frying, grilling, or broiling. Don’t leave the house if food is simmering, baking, or roasting.

3. Use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.

4. Clear away from stovetops anything that can catch fire, like cloth and paper towels, oven mitts, and wooden spoons.

How to put out a kitchen fire

1. Get out of the kitchen. Close the door behind you when you leave to help prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of your house.

2. When you reach safety, call 911 or your local emergency number.

3. Make sure others are out of the house and you have an escape route before you try to fight the fire.

4. Smother a grease fire by sliding a pot lit over the pan. Then, turn off the stove. Don’t remove the lid until the pan is cool.

5. If your oven catches fire, turn it off and keep the door closed.
For a look at another method of putting out a grease fire, check out this video: 

Have you ever had a fire in your kitchen? How did you put it out?