About 45 house fires, including condos, are reported every hour in the U.S., and 60 percent of fires are started by cooking equipment. More than 12 million unintentional home / condo cooking fires go unreported causing 640,000 injuries annually. It just takes minutes for a fire to start https://vimeo.com/66861851.
In addition to the destruction of property estimated at $7 billion per year in the U.S. alone, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 43 percent of people who died in cooking fires were asleep at the time. Developers spend millions building beautiful condo communities with many amenities, but do not consider that distraction and forgetfulness can pose significant dangers to the residents who cook, as well as their nearby neighbors.
Further, with the recession and the concurrent reduction in fire fighter staff seen in cities big and small, it would be smart to stop fires before they start. States should require mandatory range top suppression equipment in new buildings or remodels just like sprinklers and earthquake shut-off valves are now required. These units can be retrofitted as well.
In the meantime, there are some safety precautions that everyone can take to prevent cooking fires:
- Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and practice using it.
- Have a pot cover close by to put out a cooking fire quickly.
- Wipe up spills from the stove which could catch fire.
- Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.
- Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from open flames.
- Don’t overfill pans with grease or cooking oil.
- Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
- Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Never leave the kitchen to answer the door, grab the telephone, or change clothes while something is cooking without shutting the gas or electricity off.
- Be aware that it is dangerous to cook while on certain prescription medications or drinking alcohol.