USFA Releases Cooking Fires Report

U.S. Fire Administration recently announced the completion of a report and accompanying educational tools on behavioral mitigation of cooking fires. NFPA President and CEO James M. Shannon said the report, titled "Behavioral Mitigation of Cooking Fires Through Strategies Based on Statistical Analysis," and its accompanying educational videos and presentation are the result of a USFA partnership with the National Fire Protection Association to develop behavioral mitigation strategies to reduce cooking fires in the United States and the resulting injuries and deaths.

"Protecting people from fires and preventing fires are central to NFPA's mission," Shannon said. "We were especially pleased to partner with USFA on this project because cooking fires wreak havoc on thousands of lives each year--they are the leading cause of fires in the home. What has been learned through this project will further strengthen NFPA's efforts to minimize cooking fires."

According to the USFA's National Fire Incident Reporting System data, unattended cooking is the single leading factor contributing to cooking fires. From 1999 to 2003, cooking equipment had been left unattended in 37 percent of the reported home cooking equipment fires overall, and was a factor in 45 percent of the deep fryer fires and 43 percent of the range fires. Unattended equipment was a factor in 42 percent of the cooking fire deaths and 44 percent of the injuries.

After unattended equipment, heat sources too close to combustibles was the second leading factor contributing to ignition for home cooking fires with it being a factor in 13 percent of home cooking fires, 24 percent of the associated deaths, and 12 percent of the associated injuries.

The project recommends educational messages for safe home cooking that address several behaviors including: staying alert and watching what you are cooking, keeping things that can catch fire apart from heat sources, knowing what to do if you have a cooking fire and your clothes catch fire, properly installing and using cooking equipment, preventing and treating scalds and burns, and having working smoke alarms.

To view the report or for further information, visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/research/other/cooking-mitigation.shtm.

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