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For Immediate Release,
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Kathy Lane
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Cooking Up Kitchen Safety

Unattended Cooking Remains the Leading Cause of U.S. Home Fires

Washington, DC - Leaving an unattended skillet sizzling on the stove is a good way to burn your food, not to mention the chance of burning down your house.

According to statistics, 30 percent of all reported home fires start in the kitchen, and of those, most involve the range-top. That is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Safety Council, Underwriters Laboratories and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers are teaming up over the holiday season to spread the word about prevention of cooking fires.

“With over 50,000 fires occurring each year in kitchen ovens and ranges, we encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions before cooking and be attentive while cooking,” said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. 

Alan C. McMillan, president and CEO of NSC adds, “Being alert and attentive while cooking could help prevent the more than 100 deaths that occur each year from kitchen fires.”  

“The sad truth is that in nearly 75 percent of reported home fires, especially those originating in the kitchen, the person responsible for the fire was not in the area when it started,” says John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs at UL. “We urge everyone to pay attention to what’s cooking, especially during the busy holiday season.”

The three not-for-profit organizations and CPSC offer these tips to help prevent kitchen fires this holiday season:

  • Smoke detectors save lives. Make sure smoke detectors are installed and working. Never disconnect a smoke detector while cooking.
  • Supervision is key. Never leave food unattended while cooking. Keep children and pets away from cooking area.
  • Roll 'em up. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto burners and catch fire.
  • Too hot to handle? Use thick, dry, flame-resistant potholders when handling lids and pans. When removing pot and pan lids, tilt them away from you to protect your face and hands from steam.
  • Keep away from the heat. Turn the handles of pots and pans in, but away from hot burners.
  • It's not a closet. Never use the oven for storage.
  • It's made for food. Never use it to heat a room. 
  • Keep it clean. Keep the cooking area clean and clear of anything that can burn.
  • Keep a cool head. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan is cooled. Never use water or flour to extinguish a grease fire and never carry the pan outside - you could spread flames throughout the house.  
  • Use the right tools. If you're familiar with using a multi-purpose fire extinguisher, keep one handy in the event of a grease fire. Baking soda is effective for extinguishing small food fires, but not grease fires.
  • Prevent flame spread. If you have an oven fire, immediately turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
  • Call for help. If you can't extinguish the fire yourself, leave your home, call 9-1-1, and wait in a safe place until emergency personnel arrive.

Consumers can receive a free brochure with safety tips by calling 1-888-785-7233 (SAFE).

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consume products over the past 30 years.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (www.ul.com) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for more than 110 years. UL tests more than 19,000 types of products annually and more than 19 billion UL Marks appear on products each year. Worldwide, UL's family of companies and its network of service providers include 58 laboratories, and testing and certification facilities.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (www.aham.orgis a not-for-profit trade association representing manufacturers of major and portable home appliances, floor care appliances and suppliers to the industry and is headquartered in Washington, DC.

The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

   
   
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