Fire Prevention in Domestic Kitchens: A Quick Guide

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Contents

    In any living situation, the kitchen is one of the most commonly used areas. 87% of homeowners said they use their kitchens for multiple purposes - cooking, eating, socialising and more. This blog will explore the fire risks in a kitchen and look at some simple actions and strategies to improve fire safety in the kitchen.

    Understanding the fire risks in the kitchen

    The key fire risk that is present in a kitchen, and partly what makes a kitchen a high-risk environment is the activity of cooking itself. According to the latest government statistics, cooking appliances were the leading cause of house fires, accounting for 44% of all domestic fires. Over ten thousand fires were started by cooking appliances last year.

    Additional fire risks come from common kitchen items like cooking oil, paper towels, and curtains that can easily catch fire if placed too close to a heat source. Additionally, faulty or ageing appliances can lead to overloaded electrical circuits, which can result in a fire situation.

    Preventative Measures & Actions

    Safe Cooking Practices

    • Never leave your cooking unattended: Most kitchen fires start when food is left to cook without supervision. Always stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially if you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
    • Use timers when cooking: Setting timers when you’re cooking is a simple trick that can help prevent overcooking and reduce the likelihood of food igniting and starting a fire.

    Maintaining Appliances and Kitchenware

    • Keep your kitchen clean: A build-up of grease or food residue is an ideal ignition material for a fire. Make sure you regularly wipe down work surfaces and keep your cooking appliances clean.
    • Appliance maintenance: Make sure that your kitchen appliances are all in good working order and stop using any appliances that have frayed wires or faulty parts.

    Proper Use of Cooking Oils

    • Be aware of oil smoke points: If you’re regularly cooking with oil, especially frying, use oils with higher smoke points to reduce the risk of the oil reaching its smoke point, filling your kitchen with smoke. Additionally, oils with high smoke points generally have higher autoignition temperatures as well, lowering the likelihood of oil self-igniting if it is left unattended.
    • Controlled heating: Make sure you heat oil slowly and monitor the temperature to prevent it from reaching a point at which it could ignite itself.

    Install and Use Fire Safety Equipment

    • Fire Extinguishers: A fire extinguisher is an effective tool to quickly extinguish a small fire. Make sure that the fire extinguisher you have can tackle cooking oil fires (Class F), because this is a key fire risk in the kitchen.
    • Heat Alarms: A heat alarm is designed to detect a rapid rise in temperature, or temperature increasing beyond a safe threshold, and will then sound an alarm to alert you of a potential fire situation. A heat alarm is required by law in UK properties according to building regulations.
    • Fire Blankets: Having a fire blanket accessible enables you to smother small fires in their early stages, such as frying pan fires on the stove.

    Innovation in Fire Safety

    Fire safety is innovating the whole time, and a great example of this is the Firechief® Global Stove Guard. The stove guard automatically shuts off power to an electric stove if it detects unattended cooking. This effectively removes the heat source before ignition can occur, resulting in:

    • Reduced risk of injury or loss of life for residents
    • No fire/smoke damage
    • No need to tidy up after using fire safety equipment
    • No need for evacuation (in shared accommodation or multiple accommodation environments)

    Building a Fire-Safe Kitchen Environment

    There are also some steps you can take when designing a kitchen to ensure that it is as fire-safe as possible.

    Safe Layout: Design your kitchen so that flammable materials are away from the stove and the oven. Ensure you have good ventilation in the kitchen to effectively clear out fumes from cooking.

    Education: Make sure that all household members, especially children, are aware of the dangers of kitchen fires and how to avoid them.

    Useful Information

    Check out the Firechief® Stove Guard

    Find out how Stove Guard was implemented in Carrick Yard, Westminster

    Sources

    Masterbrand

    UK Government

    Disclaimer

    The Firechief® range includes high-performance fire extinguishers, fire blankets, first aid kits, lithium-ion fire extinguishers and the Kitchen Stove Guard. For more information, call us on +44 (0)330 999 0019 or email sales@firechiefglobal.com.

    The information contained within this blog is provided solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions based upon this information, we advise the reader to consult any and all relevant statutory or regulatory guidance and where felt necessary to consult a qualified fire or industry regulation professional. The use or reliance on any information contained herein is solely at the reader's risk.