Study reveals unattended cooking factor in residential fires

Study reveals unattended cooking factor in residential fires

The findings of the Ten-Community Study of the Behaviors and Profiles of People Involved in Residential Cooking Fires have prompted the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to sponsor its 1996 Recipe for Safer Cooking campaign, which will make available fire prevention educational materials. The project included more than 2,000 residential cooking fires occurring between August 1995 and February 1996 in 10 U.S. communities.

The survey, sponsored by the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and AHAM, covered the communities of Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; New Orleans, Louisiana; Portland, Oregon; El Paso and Houston, Texas; Prince George`s County, Maryland; and Monroe County, New York.

Among the study`s findings were the following:

The greatest percentage of cooking fires were caused by individuals in the 30- to 49-age range.

Unattended cooking was the leading factor in almost two-thirds of the fires. The remaining fires were caused by grease, food left on the range, and the presence of combustible materials on the range top.

In nearly two-thirds of the fires reported, the people in the residence left the area and did not try to fight the fire. Of those who did attempt to fight the fires, nearly half used improper methods. The NASFM and the AHAM, noting that the safest response to a kitchen fire is to get out of the house immediately and call the fire department from a neighbor`s phone, point out that public educators still must be prepared to address issues related to proper extinguishing methods.

A summary of the study may be obtained from Communications Department, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606, fax: (312) 984-5823.

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