According to research done by the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of house fires. To add to that statistic, the leading cause of cooking fires is unattended cooking. This means that many house fires (and the resulting damages) are easily prevented by taking a few simple precautions, which we’ve listed out below.
Don’t leave a lit stove or oven* unattended.
This tip is important for all kinds of stovetop cooking, such as grilling, boiling, or searing foods. It is extremely important for when you are frying foods on the stove that you remain nearby to keep an eye on things. Grease and oil fires are especially dangerous because they can get out control very quickly, so prevention is key! If you do have a grease fire, DO NOT attempt to put it out with water. Instead, keep the lid for your pot or pan nearby. Carefully cover the pan with the lid and leave it in place to smother the flames. Then, turn off the heat and do not attempt to move the pot or pan for several minutes. Hot oil can cause serious burns, so you want to be certain it has cooled to a safer temperature before moving it.
Additionally, make sure to check inside your oven first before preheating it. Sometimes things like baking sheets, pans, or even food can get forgotten in the oven on accident. Just crack the oven door open before you start pre-heating to make sure there’s nothing flammable inside.
*When you’re baking something in the oven that takes several hours to cook, you will probably be tempted to step away at some point. If you do, make sure to set a timer on your phone to check up on your food every few minutes. Don’t forget that you’ve got something in the oven, and don’t leave it alone long enough to burn!
Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
This includes your stovetop, inside of the oven, and your countertops. Food or grease that has fallen into your stove’s drip pans can easily catch fire the next time you light your oven. Beyond that, grease or grime on the heating coils will create a lot of smoke. This may not lead directly to a fire, but nobody wants to be battling their fire alarms while trying to cook dinner. Make sure your countertops aren’t cluttered. You should especially make sure that there is nothing flammable close by your cooking range. This includes things like paper towels, kitchen rags, wooden utensils, cookbooks, and other miscellaneous kitchen items.
If you do end up smoking up your kitchen on accident, have no fear! Check out our DIY guide on restoring smoke damaged furniture. These tips can help you get the smoke smell out of your wood, leather, or upholstered furniture.
Invest in a fire extinguisher (or two or three).
It is highly recommended to have at least one fire extinguisher in your home in case of emergencies. Ideally, you should have one for the kitchen, one for the living room, and one for the garage. These are the most common locations for house fires to start. Having an extinguisher on hand to put out small fires can prevent an even bigger blaze. If you’re facing down an out-of-control fire, get yourself and your family to safety. Call emergency services as soon as possible. Homeowners or renters insurance should cover the cost of repairs, and it’s much easier to restore damage to your home than to yourself. Don’t risk getting injuries or burns!
Get professional help with smoke and fire restoration. While it is possible to clean up after a house fire by yourself, it is much more effective and efficient to work with the pros. At Elite Restoration, we offer emergency smoke and fire damage restoration services all across Southern Idaho. We’ll help return your property and your possessions to their proper condition! Call us anytime — we’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.