Nashville, TN – The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) urges Tennesseans to be mindful in the kitchen as fire data shows cooking to be the leading known cause of reported home fires, civilian injuries, and property loss in Tennessee for the fifth consecutive year.
Twenty-nine percent of reported Tennessee home structure fires in 2015 involved cooking equipment. Those 2,077 fires resulted in seven fatalities, 44 civilian injuries, and over $11 million of direct property damage according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System.“Many cooking fires occur within minutes of residents leaving the kitchen,” said State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak.
“We cannot emphasize enough the dangers of unattended cooking. Tennesseans can help protect their family and their home from fire by simply staying alert and keeping close watch of the stovetop when cooking,” stated McPeak.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office shares the following cooking fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
- If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
- To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You will not be alert if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
- When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves or roll sleeves up.
- Keep anything that can catch fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, curtains–away from your stovetop.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
- If a small pan fire occurs, put on an oven mitt and carefully slide the pan’s lid, or a cookie sheet, onto the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and do not remove the lid until the pan is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire!
- When in doubt, just get out! If the fire is large or you do not feel comfortable smothering it with the lid, quickly exit the home and call the fire department. Close doors behind you to try to contain the fire.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages Tennesseans to have working smoke alarms installed in their homes and to develop and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a designated outside meeting place.
Tennessee residents can request a free smoke alarm by visiting www.tn.gov/fire