Stovetop fires are one of the leading causes of home fires, often resulting from preventable mistakes. Understanding the common causes and practicing effective safety measures can significantly reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. This blog explores three common mistakes that lead to stovetop fires and offers practical tips for stovetop safety.

Common Mistakes Leading to Stovetop Fires
Unattended Cooking

Distractions: Leaving the kitchen while cooking, even for a short period, is a leading cause of stovetop fires. Distractions like phone calls, doorbells, or attending to children can pull your attention away from the stove, allowing food to overheat and catch fire.
Forgotten Items: Forgetting about items on the stove, especially when cooking multiple dishes simultaneously, increases the risk of fire.

Overheated Oil and Grease

High Heat: Cooking oil and grease can quickly reach their ignition points when heated too high. Once they start smoking, they can ignite within seconds, causing a dangerous grease fire.
Improper Handling: Attempting to move a pan with hot oil or grease can cause spills, leading to fires.

Cluttered Cooking Area

Flammable Materials: Keeping flammable items like paper towels, dishcloths, oven mitts, and packaging too close to the stove can easily ignite if they come into contact with heat or flames.
Loose Clothing: Wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking can also be hazardous, as sleeves can catch fire if they come too close to the burners.

Practicing Stovetop Safety
Stay Attentive and Present

Supervision: Always stay in the kitchen while cooking, particularly when frying, grilling, or boiling food. If you need to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove or have someone else watch the food.
Timers and Reminders: Use timers to remind you to check on your food regularly. Setting alarms on your phone or using kitchen timers can help keep track of cooking times and prevent food from burning.

Handle Oil and Grease Safely

Moderate Heat: Cook with oil and grease at moderate temperatures to prevent them from reaching their smoke points. Use a thermometer to monitor oil temperatures when frying.
Proper Disposal: Dispose of used oil and grease safely by letting them cool and then transferring them to a sealable container before discarding. Never pour hot oil down the sink.
Fire Response: In case of a grease fire, do not use water to extinguish it, as it can cause the fire to spread. Instead, cover the pan with a metal lid or use baking soda to smother the flames. Keep a fire extinguisher rated for kitchen use nearby and know how to use it.

Maintain a Safe Cooking Environment

Clear Countertops: Keep flammable items away from the stove. Maintain a clutter-free cooking area by storing paper towels, dishcloths, and other combustibles at a safe distance.
Wear Appropriate Clothing: Wear short or close-fitting sleeves while cooking. If you have long hair, tie it back to prevent it from coming into contact with flames or hot surfaces.
Clean Regularly: Regularly clean your stovetop and oven to remove grease buildup, which can ignite and cause a fire. Ensure that your range hood and filters are free of grease and debris as well.

Preventing stovetop fires requires attentiveness, safe handling of cooking materials, and maintaining a clutter-free cooking environment. By understanding the common mistakes that lead to stovetop fires and implementing these stovetop safety practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of a kitchen fire, ensuring a safer home for you and your family. Remember, safety in the kitchen starts with awareness and proactive measures, so always stay vigilant and prepared.