Home Fire Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed many things about everyday life. Most of us are spending our days at home and limiting our interactions with people to help slow the spread of the dangerous virus. The Stay Home, Stay Healthy order from the Governor’s office means many of us are spending more time in our kitchen preparing meals – and cooking is the leading cause of home fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), an average of 470 home cooking fires are reported per day in the United States. Since cooking is a routine activity, it can be easy to forget that the high temperatures involved can easily start a fire.

Households are now dealing with unusual routines and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, such as children being home from school and parents working from home. This means there is greater potential for distracted cooking. In a 2019 report on home cooking fires from the NFPA, cooking caused more home fire deaths in the period from 2013 to 2017 than it did from 1980 to 1984.

Whether you are preparing for a family dinner or simply making a quick snack, practicing good cooking behaviors can help keep you and your family safe.

Cooking Safety Tips 

  • Never leave your range or cooktop unattended while cooking.
  • Wear clothing with short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and clear of flammable materials.
  • Be sure to clean up any spilled or splattered grease.
  • Never throw hot grease in the garbage, as it can ignite combustible materials.
  • Do not store food or other items in your oven.
  • Turn pot handles inward so that they can’t be bumped and children can’t grab them.

By exercising caution in your kitchen, you can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire.

If a fire does flare up, you need to be prepared. Always keep a fire extinguisher readily available when cooking.

Kitchen Fire Preparedness Tips

  • If a small fire flares up and you are going to try to extinguish it, always call 911 for help first. A fire may grow out of control more quickly than you anticipate.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire. The water can become superheated and turn into steam, causing severe burns. Water can also cause oil to splash up, spreading the fire.
  • If a fire starts in your oven or microwave, turn off the device and keep the door closed until the fire is completely out.

If a fire does break out, remember that your safety comes first. If you cannot safely extinguish the fire, leave the house, call 911 for help, and let Woodinville Fire & Rescue control the fire.

Together we can prevent home cooking fires!

For more information about fire safety, contact our Public Information Officer (PIO), Catherine Breault, at cbreault@wf-r.org.