It is in the kitchen that 20% of all domestic fires start. The risk increases if the cooking zone is supplied with gas. Our kitchens have all the necessary ingredients to start a fire: rags too close to the stove, burning frying pans, flammable chemicals near the cooking zone, and of course gas itself. To prevent it, it is important to know the main causes of fire in the kitchen.
It should be remembered that fire originates from the confluence of combustion materials, oxygen, and heat, so its fusion must be avoided.
No safety measure is ever excessive as fire is a very serious threat and taming it is always an arduous task.
Some of the main causes of fire in the kitchen are:
Between 2010 and 2019, about two-thirds of all the kitchen fires took place because of burning food.
Yet, people always forget the food they are cooking, which can easily catch fire from burning the cooking pot to set the whole kitchen ablaze.
This is more so when children and adolescents cook as they are always easily distracted.
There are no official statistics on the number of kitchen or household fires caused by frying. But, it should be pointed out that frying dominates the cooking fire problem.
One should be more careful while frying because hot oil can easily catch fire when it drops on a hot surface.
Care should be taken when frying to prevent the hot oil from dropping on a hot surface or flame.
Over a quarter of household fires are actually caused by electrical installation problems. With the ever-increasing electrical devices inside our homes and especially in the kitchen, this risk has only increased. Ovens, for example, can be very dangerous if not properly operated.
A dilapidated and degraded installation is often the cause. Damaged or degraded connection cables also constitute a potential danger.
Hence, it is important to monitor its installations and to involve an electrician at the slightest sign of deterioration. Also, care should be taken to buy equipment that respects international standards.
Another source of electrical danger: overloading of sockets. The habit of plugging too many appliances into the same energy supply is the source of many fire starts. It is thus recommended to avoid the use of multiple sockets, never to connect several to each other.
It is also strongly advised not to connect a household appliance consuming a lot of energy (washing machine, dishwasher …) to a power strip or an extension cord.
If the use of a power strip is unavoidable, prefer the one with a switch that can be turned off when devices are not in use.
At home, we often store combustible products that must be taken care of when handling and storing. Products such as paints, bleach, diesel or glues must be properly preserved.
Avoid storing flammable products near heat sources that can spread fire and emit toxic gases, especially in the kitchen.
Like the elderly, children are at an increased risk when there are sources of heat or combustion burning inside the house. It is, therefore, the moral responsibility of elders to educate children on the dangers of fire. Also, children should always be monitored when using the kitchen.
The gas stove will always remain the root cause of all fires. Besides, the cooking control is so visual and immediate, i.e, just turn a knob to adjust the flame.
Gas leaks are the most feared cause of kitchen fire. Natural gas is odorless and thus difficult to detect. If it accumulates, the risk of fire and explosion in the household is very real.
Whether the range is connected to town gas or to cylinders, it is necessary to monitor and change the connection pipes regularly. A hole even if it is not visible can let out gas and have dramatic consequences.
How To Prevent Kitchen Fire?
In the kitchen, you should never lower your guard. Leaving what is cooking can lead to a fatal outcome. It goes without saying that you should never leave your house without turning off your gas stove.
Booking a closet for cleaning products is also not advisable.
Most of these liquids are highly flammable, so they should not live in a space where high temperatures and proximity to fire are common.
Also, cleaning is essential to prevent fires. So the hood, smoke outlets, toaster or cooking area must be fat-free.
In your kitchen, it is a must to periodically check the quality of the flame: it must be stable, bluish and silent. If not, you will have to call the technical service to review it.
The match must be lit before opening the gas stopcock.
In case of gas leakage, do not touch the light switches under any circumstances. Not to mention lighting a match. It is advisable to open the windows so that the gas can clear itself, after which you can notify the maintenance service.
As a preventive measure, it is advisable to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Also, home insurance with a fire guarantee is always a smart move. As is a home with appropriate smoke detectors installed.
What if a fire has already occurred?
If already in the midst of a fire, it is important to stay calm and act swiftly. Here are some of the things to keep in mind when such a situation arises:
• Turn off the electric current, the gas inlet and, if possible, the heat source.
• Remove all flammable products near the flames.
• If the fire is small, try to extinguish it with a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket. Never use water, because it can reach electrical installations or flammable liquids (such as oil from a pan), which can make it even worse. When you are about to turn it off, place yourself between the fire and the escape route to avoid the risk of getting caught.
• If the magnitude of the fire is such that it is difficult to put it out, it is better not to try. Flee the area by closing the door before to hinder the spread of fire. It is necessary to crawl out to avoid breathing toxic smoke (it tends to concentrate in the high areas).
• From a safe place, call emergency services.
• Do not use the elevators of the building. If the stairs are full of smoke, it is preferable to remain in the house. In such a case, you should lock yourself in a room covering the door slots with damp cloths. Then from the window, make signs to the emergency services so that they see you.
• If your clothes catch fire, lie on the floor, roll on yourself and cover the affected with a large blanket, squeezing hard until you finish the flames.
And always remember that it is best to call the emergency service. They will always direct you on the steps you should follow.