How to prevent cooking fires and burn injuries

Lighting the stove with a match

This week is National Burn Awareness Week, a time when health experts and emergency first responders make extra efforts to ensure that the public knows the most important steps to preventing burns and getting the right treatment to someone who’s been burned as soon as possible.

One of the most common ways people get burn injuries is in the kitchen — 47% of all home fires are caused by cooking. Ohio State burn specialists see all types of burns, from simple to complex, at central Ohio’s only American Burn Associated-verified Comprehensive Burn Center

Preventing cooking fires

Make sure all appliances are turned off. After cooking check the kitchen to make sure all burners and appliances are turned off.

Do not leave the kitchen. Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn off the stove before leaving the room.

Dress appropriately. Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking to keep your clothing from catching fire.

Use a lid while frying. Prevent splatter burns by using a lid while frying.

Three icons depicting: timer in the off position, pan with the flame on a stove, microwave with the flame bursting out 

Remember: Preventing a burn injury is always better than the pain and trauma of medical treatment afterward. Be safe and stay alert  when cooking.

Do not put out grease fire with water. Never use water to put out a grease fire. If food catches fire, cover it with a lid or cookie sheet; don’t try to move hot pans. Turn off the heat and leave the pan until it cools. Trying to put out a grease fire with water can cause the grease to splash, spreading fire even more.

Have a kid-free zone. Keep children at least 3 feet from the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared or carried.

Use microwave-safe cookware. When using the microwave to heat food, ensure that the cookware you’re using is microwave-safe and allows steam to escape. Allow food to rest before removing.

Do not open the microwave or oven door. If a fire develops in the oven or microwave, leave the door shut and turn it off. Keep the door closed until it’s cool.

More tips for preventing and treating burns from Ohio State’s burn specialists

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