Cooking Fire Safety and Beyond: Protecting Your Home and Workplace

Cooking Fire Safety

As we get ready for Fire Prevention Week from October 8-14, we’re here to ignite your awareness about essential cooking safety tips.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, with nearly half (49 percent) of all home fires involving cooking equipment. More specifically, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and related deaths. According to NFPA data, cooking is the sole significant contributor to fires and fire-related fatalities during 2014-2018, surpassing the occurrences and fatalities observed during 1980-1984.

Cooking safety starts with you – here are a few ways to play a role in fire prevention:

  • Always keep a close eye on what you’re cooking. For foods with longer cook times, such as those that are simmering or baking, set a timer to help monitor them carefully.
  • Clear the cooking area of combustible items and keep anything that can burn, including dish towels, oven mitts, food packaging, and paper towels.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove and keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
  • Create a “kid and pet free zone” of at least three feet (one meter) around the cooking area and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Additional Fire Safety Concerns

In addition to the fire safety concerns posed by cooking, other essentials topics to include in your safety discussions include:

  • Emergency action plan
  • Evacuation plan and escape routes
  • Fire extinguisher use

When an emergency is detected, some advocate for the immediate evacuation of all building occupants. Yet, as buildings become larger and more intricate, this decision becomes increasingly complex, mirroring the unpredictability of emergencies themselves. Consequently, it is imperative to establish a well-thought-out evacuation strategy well in advance of any potential emergency to ensure a safe and effective response.

There are four main strategies when it comes to occupant safety, each named for their intent:

  • Total evacuation – All occupants are directed to immediately exit.
  • Phased Evacuation – An alternate to total evacuation, where occupants are directed to exit in groups, typically starting with those closest to emergency exits.
  • Occupant Relocation – This strategy is used when occupants are incapable of evacuation due to a medical condition or physical restraint. In buildings with active and passive protection, acting as safe locations for occupants to remain during an emergency.
  • Shelter-in-place – Utilizes protection provided by the building, both passive and active, as well as the distance from the emergency to protect occupants in place. Occupants are remaining in place, until the emergency is mitigated.

Every situation is slightly different making evacuation a complex decision. For more information on building evacuation check out this NFPA article and additional resources.

Reach out to an Advisor

Ensuring your company has an emergency action plan in place is crucial. Please contact an RCM&D advisor for guidance if you haven’t established one yet.