Recent Fire Damage Posts

Cooking: The #1 Cause of Home Fires

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

What you should know

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Safety considerations for cooking with oil

Oil is a key ingredient found in the majority of today’s kitchens. Whether a recipe calls for frying or sautéing, we include oil in almost all of our daily cooking. When using any of the many oils to prepare your meals like olive, canola, corn or soybean, consider the following safety tips when cooking:

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
  • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
  • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
  • If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside. 

Holiday cooking  

In 2013, Thanksgiving was the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. 

Date Fires Percent above average number of fires per day  

November 28 (Thanksgiving) 1,550  (230%) 

December 25 (Christmas) 740  (58%)  

December 24 (Christmas Eve)  720  (54%)

Source: Statistics from Liberty Mutual Get safety tips from Liberty Mutual.

Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your holiday dishes do not overcook.

Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy holiday season is tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended

Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking.

More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends during the holidays this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.

Survey Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance, 2013. Ketchum Global Research & Analytics designed and analyzed this nationwide phone survey (with 35 percent cell sample) of 1,005 adults ages 18-65+. ORC International fielded the survey from October 10-13, 2013, and the survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

Source: “Safety Messages About Cooking”, National Fire Protection Association

Fire Do’s and Don’ts

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Do

  • Limit movement of people in the structure to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely, and prop doors open to help prevent odors.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances. Then protect with a light coating of lubricant.
  • Pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs if heat is off during freezing season.
  • Gently wash both sides of leaves on indoor plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until checked by trained professional.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

Don’t

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service person.
  • Consume any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.