More than 100 million ranges and cooktops are in use in the United States today, and the vast majority are used safely and without incident. Unattended cooking, however, is one of the leading causes of household fires U.S. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly a third of all fires begin in the kitchen. Cooking is also the leading cause of fires that result in injury.
AHAM and appliance manufacturers are attacking the problem of unattended cooking fires on two fronts: through the promotion of technical advances related to electric coil ranges will enable companies to design cooking products that mitigate the potential for unattended cooking fires; and through consumer awareness and education initiatives to promote safe cooking with cooktops and ranges.
AHAM and its member companies have proposed to UL and the Canadian Standards Association a test procedure to evaluate sensors and other devices that will prevent cookware from reaching the ignition temperatures associated with common cooking oils. The efforts are focused on revising UL 858 and CSA C22.2 No. 61 to require all coil element cooktops to successfully meet the test. The proposed test procedure initially will apply to electric cooktops, helping to reduce the potential for surface cooking fires. The industry will prioritize standards development for electric coil ranges and cooktops, which represent the majority of cooking-fire-related incidents.
At the same time, product safety experts in AHAM member companies are working together to determine how similar tests and requirements can ultimately be applied to radiant glass ceramic, induction, and gas cooktops and ranges. This overall plan, coupled with enhanced consumer education and awareness activities, are designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the incidence of unattended cooking fires.
The intentions and goals AHAM is pursuing are ambitious and will require significant technical developments and work with vendors and other stakeholders. However, AHAM and its member companies believe that the combination of improvements to existing standards and consumer education will further the goal of reducing injuries, fires and property damage.
AHAM, UL, the National Association of State Fire Marshals and the National Safety Council developed the Recipe for Safer Cooking, a brochure offering cooking safety tips and instructions on how to put out a cooking fire. Larger quantities are also available for purchase.
Read the home appliance industry’s action plan to reduce unattended cooking fires.