Safeguarding Your Rental from Cooking Fires

Posted By: Tiffany Van Buren Housing Provider Tips,


Did you know that the leading cause of residential fires is cooking fires? They spread quickly and account for 10% of residential fire-related deaths in the US. What makes kitchens so dangerous? Here are five things that can make a kitchen a danger zone:

  1. Unattended active burners
  2. Combustible items nearby
  3. Children, pets, or too many people in the kitchen
  4. Hot pans or handles
  5. Grease and oil spills, drips, and residue

I’m sure each of your units is equipped with smoke detectors and there are fire extinguishers nearby (as required by law.) But the optimal strategy is to put that fire out before it has time to spread. Suppose a tenant is frying chicken and is interrupted by a knock on the door. They walk away momentarily, only to return to find a raging grease fire. Can you trust them not to panic? Will they have the wherewithal to calmly retrieve the nearest fire extinguisher, return to the kitchen, then know how to deploy it safely and effectively?

One good added precaution is to equip each rental unit’s kitchen with a B Class fire extinguisher. Keeping them close at hand is a great way to reduce response time. In my units I mount them inside the sink cabinet and check them annually during my RHSPs. However, there is another option worth considering: a fire suppressor.

StoveTop FireStop, a company that’s been “protecting residential kitchens from the devastating effects of cooking fires since 1972,” has a product called FireStop Rangehood. These small tuna-can shaped canisters are filled with fire-suppressant powder and attach to your range hood, either with a magnet or an adhesive. Solid in pairs, one set of Rangehood canisters will protect a typical four burner stove from stove-top fires spreading, even in an unattended kitchen. Rangehood canisters deploy automatically when the flame from a cooking fire comes in direct, sustained contact with the fuse on the underside. If you’ve ever seen a stove-top fire, you know how high those flames can reach in a matter of seconds! Even if the suppressant doesn’t completely extinguish the fire, it could buy valuable time to grab and deploy the fire extinguisher.

Now that fire is on your mind, it’s probably a great time to make sure you have sufficient fire coverage on your building’s insurance policy! While speaking with your agent, ask them if your provider offers a discount for outfitting your units with fire suppressant devices; some providers even cover the cost of purchasing them.

Lastly, Lemonade, a company that offers low-cost Renters Insurance, has a great article about kitchen safety you can share with your tenants by sending them this link: Lemonade-How to Stay Safe in the Kitchen. If they’re swayed to buy a policy while on the website, that’s a bonus.