Tag Archives: fire safety

Fire Prevention in the Kitchen

Based on our previous article we demonstrated that the majority of residential as well as non-residential fires start in the kitchen. These fires also account for the majority of the deaths and injuries from both residential and non-residential fires. The majority of these fires can be prevented!

Kitchen Fire Prevention

Preventing kitchen fires and injuries takes one part common sense and a few parts preparation. Take stock and be of your surroundings, especially your:  

  • Kitchen’s layout
  • equipment, and cleanliness
  • Cooking habits
  • Ability to put out a small fire safely
  • Knowledge of burn-injury prevention.

Kitchen Cleanliness

A clean kitchen is a safer kitchen. Wipe up spills as they happen. Clean crumbs and grease buildup from cooking appliances regularly. Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove on a regular basis. Grease can catch fire easily, and grease fires can be difficult to put out. Keep messes under control to avoid these risks altogether.

First Aid and Burn Response

Act fast to limit the severity of burns. Run cool water over a minor burn for 10 to 15 minutes to limit its seriousness. Never use grease or butter on a burn. If burned skin is blistered, see a doctor. For blackened skin, shallow breathing, or unconsciousness, call the fire department or ambulance service.

Understand your Recipes and Cooking Times

Careless cooking starts more residential fires than any other cause. Cooking accidents also hurt people – more are injured in the kitchen than from any other fire-related cause. Brush up on kitchen safety and cook smart.

Safe Steps in the Kitchen

  • It is easy to develop bad cooking habits. Don’t get burned.  
  • Never leave food cooking unattended.
  • Cook with the lowest effective temperature.
  • Do not store cooking fat on the stovetop.
  • A burner could be turned on, accidentally starting a grease fire.  
  • Plug in appliances only when they are in use.  
  • Keep metal out of the microwave – even a twist-tie or a bit of aluminum foil can cause “arcing,” which can lead to fire.  
  • Wear close-fitting clothing when you cook. Avoid loose sleeves, ties, or ruffles.  
  • Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
  • An adult may brush against the handle, or a child may pull the pot off of the stove and be burned.  
  • Supervise young children in the kitchen.  
  • Do not touch or try to move a flaming pot.
  • You may spread the fire and/or burn yourself.  
  • Slowly remove lids from containers that have been in the microwave oven.
  • The steam that builds up inside containers can cause serious scalds.

Putting out a Kitchen Fire

Never try to put out a fire yourself unless:  

  • You have called the fire department.  
  • You know what is burning.  
  • You have the necessary supplies (pan lid or correct fire extinguisher).  
  • The fire is small and not spreading.  
  • Everyone else has left the area.  
  • You have a clear path to the exit.

Never use water, baking soda, or flour on a grease fire. Instead, carefully slide a lid over the pan from the side, and turn off the stove. Keep the lid over the fire until flames are out.

Smother a fire in a conventional oven or microwave oven by keeping the door closed. Unplug or turn off the unit. Have the microwave serviced before using it again.

If paper, cloth, or food (other than grease) is burning, it may be safe to use an A or ABC fire extinguisher, if you know how. A fire extinguisher labeled C, BC, or ABC can be used on an electrical fire.

If the fire does not go out right away, exit. If you haven’t done so already, call the fire department, using a neighbor’s phone.

Article was reprinted on behalf of Jennifer and content was borrowed from www.cityofolean.org/

Fire Prevention Statistics in the United States

Fire Prevention Statistics

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the United States has been building fire prevention and awareness over the past decade to a point where the number of fires, deaths from fires, injuries from fires, and the dollars lost due to fires has been decreasing at rates up to 20% from 2006.

Trends across America leading to a more fire preventative culture
  2015 2006 Trend
Number of Fires 1,345,500 1,602,491 19.1%
Deaths resulting from Fires 3,280 3,378 3.0%
Injuries resulting from Fires 15,700 16,956 8.0%
$ lost from fires (Billions) $         14.3 $         17.2 20.4%

To a casual reader, a total of almost 1.5 million fires in the United States, well breaking this list down to where fires actually occur can help determine how we as a community can contribute to a reduction in the number of fires.

From this list the largest single source of fires comes from outdoor fires, contributing a total of 41% of reported fires.  

Causes of Residential Fires

Breaking this down into Residential Fires we see that the main cause of residential fires occurs from cooking!

Causes of Residential Fires 2016
Cooking 50.3%
Heating 9.6%
Unintentional, careless 6.6%
Electrical malfunction 6.5%
Open Flame 4.3%
Intentional 4.2%
Appliances 3.6%
Heat 3.3%
Exposure 2.9%
Smoking 2.1%
Equipment Malfunction 1.8%
Natural 1.7%
Undetermined 1.4%
Other equipment 1.2%
Playing with heat source 0.4%

Causes of Nonresidential Fires

Causes of Nonresidential Fires in 2016
Cooking 29.9%
Unintentional, careless 11.0%
Intentional 9.3%
Electrical malfunction 7.4%
Heating 7.4%
Open Flame 5.9%
Other heat 5.1%
Equipment 4.7%
Exposure 4.4%
Appliances 3.8%
Natural 3.6%
Equipment malfunction 3.4%
Smoking 2.2%
Undetermined 1.6%
Playing with heat source 0.3%

Causes of Outdoor Fires

Causes of Outdoor Fires
Unintentional 43.1%
Undetermined 25.9%
Intentional 17.1%
Under Investigation 4.8%
Act of nature 4.7%

Causes of Vehicle Fires

Causes of Vehicle Fires
Unintentional 38.5%
Undetermined 22.8%
Equipment Failure 20.9%
Under Investigation 10.0%
Intentional 4.8%
Other 2.9%

Fire Safety Information and Statistics for People with Disabilities

Fire Safety for people with disabilities

According to the National Fire Protection Association Roughly one in every 320 households per year had a reported home fire during this five-year period. These fires caused an estimated average of 2,570 civilian deaths, 13,210 civilian injuries, and $7.2 billion in direct property damage per year.

Of these, One-quarter (25 percent) of the home fire deaths resulted from fires that originated in the bedroom, another quarter (24 percent) from fires in the family room, living room, or den, and 16 percent from fires starting in the kitchen. Half of home fire deaths were caused by incidents reported between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Does your family have a fire escape plan if a fire were to start in your home? Do your kids or parents know how and have a safe escape route in the event of a fire?

While fires are dangerous for everyone involved, people with disabilities face unique challenges in a safe escape during a fire emergency. Taking the time once per year to prepare a plan to escape in the event of a fire could help save lives. This guide will highlight several safety measures for those living at home with common disabilities such as: poor vision, hard of hearing, and other physical disabilities.

Match stick on fire

Fire Safety Tips for the Visually Impaired

The National Federation of the Blind reports that there are roughly 7.3 million people in the United States with visual disabilities, with nearly 3 million of them being adults age 65 or older. Because of this impairment, these individuals are also at a much higher risk for both starting accidental fires and becoming injured as a result of trying to extinguish fire.

Additionally, people rely mainly on their sense of sight to assess danger.  Those who experience blindness or visual impairment have to rely on other senses, which may not always be the best to safely assess an emergency situation.  Therefore, the best way to guarantee the best chance for fire safety is to practice fire prevention. Individuals who are visually impaired should perform at least an annual survey of their home to assess the following questions:

  • Are your wall outlets overloaded?  Do you have excessive extension cords running to multiple electrical outputs?
  • Are your electrical appliances in good condition?  Are any of the electrical wires or or frayed?
  • Are you replacing light bulbs with the correct wattage?
  • Are your outlets and appliances grounded?
  • Are your chimneys and space heaters properly cleaned and maintained?
  • Do you use a time when baking in the oven?  Is the space around your oven kept free of paper and flammable debris?

Take a look around your home for potential problems. Unless you are a confident trained electrician, it may be best to have someone more experienced or an electrician over to diagnose and fix some of your homes shortcomings.

Fire Safety Tips for those with Hearing Impairments

While people with hearing impairments can see and smell the signs of a fire, they are more susceptible to discovering the fire too late. People who are hard of hearing may not be able to hear traditional smoke alarms, especially in cases where they do not sleep with hearing aids. When it comes to fire prevention and safety, people with hearing impairments should follow the same fire safety and prevention strategies as everyone else, but should also ask themselves the following questions:

  • Are my fire alarms able to wake me up when I am sleeping? Does my fire alarm have a flashing strobe? Does my fire alarm vibrate?
  • It is essential that people with hearing disabilities install specially designed smoke and fire alarms.

Fire Safety Tips for those with Physical Disabilities

Unfortunately, individuals with physical disabilities have one of the highest risks of starting or being injured or dying in a home fire. The NFPA reports this to be caused by disabilities which can delay or prevent an individual from escaping a fire. If your home is not designed for a person with a physical disability, it can be very difficult to safely escape when a fire is started. If you or someone you know experiences a physical disability, help them walk through some of the questions and suggestions below:

  • Do I live or sleep on the ground floor near an exit?
  • Do I have a ramp accessible by my nearest exit?
  • Can my walker or wheelchair fit through all the doors and hallways leading to the emergency exit closest to me?
  • Can my doors or windows be easily opened?
  • How can I contact emergency services with my physical disability?