Ways to help prevent kitchen fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three quarters of structure fires that occur every year in the United States are home fires, with cooking equipment the leading cause. Between 2012 and 2016, these fires caused an average of $1.1 billion in direct property damage per year. Taking proactive safety measures can help reduce the risk of a fire in your home, making your kitchen even safer for family and friends. 

Kitchen precautions

  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working.
  • Maintain a clean environment (i.e. stovetop, vents, oven interior and countertops) to prevent a fire from starting.
  • Do not store items in the oven in order to avoid forgetting and starting a fire when preheating.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and get it inspected by the fire department regularly.

Cooking tips

  • Do not leave your stovetop unattended. If you have to leave the room, turn your burner off.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stovetop and oven. Items like hand towels, pot holders and napkins can easily start a fire if they come in contact with hot kitchen appliances.
  • Keep a pan lid nearby in case the pan catches on fire and you need to cover it. This is especially important when cooking with oil or grease because of the higher risk of combustion.
  • Never throw hot grease into the trash because combustible items can ignite a fire.
  • Make sure to pay attention and cook carefully. It’s easy to get distracted, especially by children.

Child safety

  • Teach children which appliances get hot and not to touch them.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and when to call 911.
  • Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so they can’t be bumped or pulled down off the stove.
  • Designate a few feet around the stovetop that children are not allowed to enter.
  • Educate your children on the dangers of kitchen fires and make sure they’re cautious when you’re cooking.
  • Store children’s snacks away from the stovetop and oven.

No one wants to imagine a fire breaking out in their kitchen or the consequences that follow, but it can happen if you aren’t cautious. By following these safety tips, you’re reducing the chance of a fire and protecting yourself and your family.

Talk to your independent insurance agent about our home coverage options in order to protect you in the unfortunate event of a fire. Make sure you understand the difference between your home’s market value and its replacement cost to ensure you have the proper coverage and limits in place.


U.S. Fire Administration
National Fire Protection Association

LC 2018-403