According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an entity of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), cooking at home was the leading cause of all residential building fires, accounting for 51% of all residential building fires responded to by fire departments in 2021.
How to Prevent Kitchen Fires
To help you reduce fire risk in the kitchen and give you peace of mind while cooking, we gathered the following kitchen fire safety tips:
Never Leave the Kitchen Unattended While Cooking
The American Red Cross says it’s vital to stay in the kitchen while cooking, especially if you’re frying, grilling, or broiling food. You might think nothing of taking a quick phone call or running out to grab the mail, but a kitchen fire can start in seconds. If you need to leave for any period of time, be sure to turn off the burner. If you’re simmering, baking, boiling, or roasting food, check on it regularly to make sure the heat source is set to the right temperature, and use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. It’s also a good idea to make a habit out of confirming that your stove, oven, and small appliances are turned off before going to bed or leaving your home for the day.
Wear the Proper Cooking Attire
Loose clothing can easily catch fire after coming in contact with an open flame. Instead, wear clothing with short sleeves or roll your sleeves up above the elbow. It's also important to tie back long hair when cooking since hair can quickly come into contact with heat and flames. Before you begin cooking, tuck any loose strands of hair behind your ears or pull it back into a neat bun or ponytail.
Clean and Consider Your Surroundings
Grease buildup can cause a kitchen fire, so it's essential to regularly clean cooking surfaces. You should also keep flammable items away from kitchen appliances that generate heat, such as:
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
Even if you take these preventative measures, fires can still occur, so you should also keep a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen. A-B-C fire extinguishers are suitable for most home kitchens since they work on paper and wood, flammable liquids and grease, and electrical fires.
Invest in Fire Detection Systems for Your Home
Below are some different types of fire detection systems that can help you stay ahead of kitchen fires:
Maintain Smoke Alarms
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), almost three out of every five residential fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires in homes without smoke alarms or with nonfunctioning ones. Nearly half of the nonfunctioning batteries had missing or disconnected batteries, and a quarter had dead batteries. This statistic shows that having functional smoke alarms with working batteries is crucial in preventing deadly fires.
For general home fire safety, the NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.
The NFPA recommends placing smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on a wall in your kitchen and at least 10 feet away from the stove. You should also sync each alarm so that if one goes off, they all do. Test your smoke alarms at least once a month to confirm they work correctly and replace the batteries as needed. It’s also a good idea to replace your alarms after 10 years to ensure they’re up to date and working properly.
Stay Informed When You’re Away With a Ring Alarm Smoke Listener
Installing a Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener is a great way to stay ahead of kitchen fires. The Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener is an innovative device that helps you monitor your home’s existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. By placing a Listener within three inches of your CO and smoke detectors, you’ll get real-time notifications on your tablet or phone whenever the device hears their sirens. For an extra layer of protection, you can also enroll in 24/71 monitoring with a Ring Protect Pro subscription2 (sold separately). With 24/7 monitoring, a team of professionals can request the help you need, day or night, when smoke, CO, or a fire trigger your Ring Security System.
Here’s what happens when you subscribe to Ring Protect Pro and enroll in 24/7 Alarm Professional Monitoring:
Overall, investing in Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener for your home can provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind. For more fire safety tips, check out our guide to home fire safety.
1 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for digital notifications, in-app features, digital arming/disarming, and integration with other Ring, Echo, and third party products. Subscription sold separately. View ring.com/protect-plans for pricing and details.
2 24/7 professional monitoring for intrusion only. Smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is not available for a business or commercially zoned address.
3 Requires the Ring Alarm Security Kit.