Cooking Fires and Burn Safety Tips

Did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries?

In 2015 in Massachusetts, there were more than 10,200 home fires involving cooking, according to the state fire marshal. These fires resulted in four deaths, 80 resident injuries, 30 firefighter injuries and an estimated $10 million in property damage.

Luckily, there are steps to prevent fires and quickly stop them before they get out of control without injuring yourself:

  • Put a lid on it: Lids on a grease fire will smother it, allowing you a chance to turn off the heat. Baking soda will also work on stopping the fire.
  • Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire. Water will only spread the fire and the force of the extinguisher can spread flaming grease from the pan to other surfaces.
  • Never move a burning pan; you can be badly burned and/or spread the fire.
  • Stand by the pan. Don't leave food, grease or oils cooking on an unattended stovetop.
  • Wear appropriate clothing when cooking. Loose clothing or long sleeves can catch fire, so opt for short or tight-fitting clothing.
  • In the instance your clothing does catch fire, remember to stop, drop and roll to put out the flames. Then immediately put your burns in cool, running water and then call 911 for help.
  • The best way to cool burns is to keep them under cool, running water for 10 to 15 minutes, then call 911 or seek medical attention for more serious burns.
  • Keep pot handles inwards on the stove to prevent accidents.
  • Create a three-foot "child-free zone" around the stove and barbecue to prevent burns and scalds.
Speaking of children, 88 percent of all burns suffered by children are scalds. Safety officials have some things for parents and child caregivers to consider when it comes to hot liquids. These include:
  • Put coffee down when you hold a baby.
  • Put drinks and soups toward the center of a table.
  • Consider using placemats instead of tablecloths to keep kids from pulling everyone on the table onto themselves.
  • Hot liquids caused almost one-quarter of the burns to children under 5, and 74 percent of people burned by hot beverages were under 5.
Click here for more tips on preventing cooking fires.
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