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More Home Fires Start in Kitchen

Home Fire Safety
Keep Red Cross safety steps handy when cooking.

Cooking is the number one cause of home fires in the United States. During Fire Prevention Month the American Red Cross suggests using safety steps to avoid a fire while cooking.

The National Fire Protection Agency cites that in 2010, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,400 home structure fires and caused an overall 44% of home fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments.

COOKING SAFETY The cook should not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. They should also stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food - never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

Other safety steps include:

  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
  • You can help people affected by disasters like fires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

    Tags: Fire, Safety.
    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.