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Cooking Safety

How can YOU reduce the risk of a cooking fire in the home?

Unattended Cooking Fires are one of the leading causes of household fires in the United States. According to reports from the United States Fire Administration, nearly one-third of all home fires begin in the kitchen area. Cooking is also the leading cause of injuries from home fires.

How can you cook safely and carefully in today's busy environment?

Manufacturers of ranges and ovens, through the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), are working together to reduce the risk of such fires through education. That means changing our cooking behavior.

The first step was to better understand what are the causes and who are the people responsible for careless cooking fires. To do this, AHAM joined forces with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to conduct an in-depth, six-month study in ten major cities in the United States. The fire services in these cities agreed to complete a special survey questionnaire for each cooking fire reported in this period.

After sorting through more than 2,000 returned surveys, we found the results confirmed some basic beliefs about the causes and behaviors associated with cooking fires but illuminated some surprising statistics.

  • The range-top was involved in nearly 8 of every 10 cooking fires.
  • In nearly 3/4 of the fires reported (73%), the person responsible for the fire was not in the area when the fire started.
  • The other major causes of cooking fires reported were grease, food left on the range, and combustible materials on the range-top.
  • In nearly 2/3 of the fires (64%), people in the residence did not attempt to fight the fire but left the area.
  • Unfortunately, one-half of the people who did try to fight the fire, did it incorrectly, further endangering themselves and their families.
  • A larger percentage of the cooking fires were caused by people in the age range of 19 - 69 than is represented by their percentage of the overall population.
  • One-half of the cooking fires reported were caused by people between the age of 30 - 49.

A copy of the full report, "Ten Community Study of the Behaviors and Profiles of People Involved in Residential Cooking Fires--Executive Summary" (23 pp.) is available for downloading.  

What have you done to "spread the word" about cooking fire safety? Let us know. We are eager to share ideas and work together. Send email to: jnotini@aham.org