The number of kitchen fires the Seattle Fire Department has responded to this month is higher than usual. Since Oct. 1, the department has responded to at least six fires that have occurred in the kitchen areas of residential homes or apartment units. The specific cause of these fires varies, however, they all have one appliance in common – stovetops.
Firefighters responded to two fires in the north end in early October that were caused by electric stoves left in the “on” position, which then ignited nearby combustibles. Several other fires have started from food left unattended in the kitchen. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in any of these fires. However, even a cooking fire can lead to injuries from smoke inhalation or burns.
With the increase in kitchen-related fires, the department wants to remind residents to follow important cooking safety tips to prevent this from happening at home:
- Accidentally turning on a stovetop burner is one of the main causes of kitchen fires. Keep all things that can catch fire away from the stovetop, including oven mitts, towels, papers, food packaging, cooking utensils and shopping bags.
- Keep the stovetop clean. Food, oil and grease become additional fuel to a hot burner.
- Every home should have working smoke alarms. Test your smoke alarms monthly and if your smoke alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them.
- Create a home fire escape plan. Know two ways out of every room.
This article originally appeared in The Seattle Medium.