LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Cooking is the leading cause of home fire injuries and nearly half of all home fires, which is why the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada is partnering with local fire departments during the 101st Fire Prevention Week to emphasize the importance of cooking and kitchen and fire safety.

Fire departments respond to more than 170,000 home fires caused by cooking each year nationwide. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says the main cause for these fires is unattended stoves during cooking, resulting in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and over $1 billion in damages annually.

“So far this year, Red Cross of Southern Nevada team members have responded to over 200 home fires, helping nearly 800 Nevadans by providing emotional support, financial assistance, and valuable information to help families begin to recover,” said Rachel Flanigan, Executive
Director of the American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter.

The Red Cross of Southern Nevada offers the following kitchen cooking and fire safety tips:

  • To prevent a cooking fire in your kitchen:
    • Monitor your cooking; unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires.
    • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves to prevent loose clothing from catching fire.
    • Regularly clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease buildup.
    • Keep curtains, towels, potholders, solvents and flammable cleaners away from the stove. Never store gasoline indoors.
    • Turn pan handles inward to prevent spills.
  • To put out a cooking fire in your kitchen:
    • Call 911 immediately.
    • For grease or oil fires, smother flames by sliding a pan lid over them, turn off the heat and leave the lid on until the pan cools. Do not carry the pan outside.
    • Use baking soda to extinguish other food fires, but never use water or flour.
    • Smother fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
    • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it correctly.

Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers and staff frequently respond to home fires, which can leave families devastated and in need of immediate assistance.

Residents seeking fire prevention assistance can schedule a free smoke alarm installation appointment through the Red Cross website’s Sound the Alarm page.