News Release, State Farm

Make Safety Your Main Ingredient in Holiday Cooking

State Farm Releases Top 10 States for Cooking/Grease Fire Losses

Oil and water do not mix. You’ve heard it a thousand times. But unfortunately, this common knowledgeis often forgotten in the heat of the moment.

A State Farm customer in Atlanta recentlyleft a pan on the stove unattended, and it caught fire. They forgot the adage and attempted to put out the fire by throwing water on it. While nobody was hurt, the damage increased.

“The result was$9,000 in insured damages to the stove, cabinets, countertops, and floor,” said their agent Ken Anderson, of Alpharetta, Georgia.“You should never use water to try and put out a grease fire.”

It would have been worse.The average State Farm cooking/grease fire claimin the U.S. was more than $48,000in 2018.

Georgia is the top state for cooking fire losses. Anderson has seen at least two dozen cooking-related fire claims in his 38 years as an agent. Many were made worsewhen oil and watermixed.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the leading cause of home fires. One out of three home fires begins in the kitchen – more than any other place in the home. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of kitchen fires. NFPA data shows thatThanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.

The oil and water pitfalls are not reserved for the kitchen. Last year, around Thanksgiving, one of Ken’s customers attempted to fry a frozen turkey. In addition to not having thawed the bird, the customer had too much oil in the fryer. When he dropped the turkey in, the hot oil spilled over, leaving him with second-degree burns and a damaged deck.

Among the advice, Ken shares with customers?

Make sure you have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers that are up to date,” he said. “And,keep cookingor grease fire-approved fire extinguisher nearby when cooking or frying.”

It pays to follow the advice. In 2018, State Farmpaid more than $118 millionfor nearly 2,500 cooking/grease fire homeowners* claims across the U.S.

*Note: excludes renters and condo unit claims.

Mouse over (or touch on mobile) the + on the interactive image below to see the safety tips.

Because many families and friends engage in cooking during the holidays, it is important to follow some basic safety tips:

  • Always keep an eye on what you are cooking/frying. Never leave the cooking area unattended.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
  • Keep a lid beside the pan when cooking. If a fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Never throw water on a grease fire.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires nearby. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.

David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...