A trio of sessions at this week's Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando focused on cooking fires, which accounts for 44 percent of reported home fires and 16 percent of home fire deaths, according to NFPA statistics.
Presenters from Underwriters Laboratories and the University of Maryland, for example, discussed their joint study on identifying predictors that could prevent flaming, stovetop fires. Oxygen and gas concentrations were analyzed during eleven scenarios--including cooking bacon and ground beef in a pan--at the stove, hood, and ceiling levels.
Similarly, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar and Underwriters Laboratories India discussed their analysis on parameters that can be used to predict probable occurrences of cooking fires. They noted a similar problem with cooking fires in their country, but added that the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in kitchens is a problem catered to Indian culture. Though more research is required on this issue, the researchers noted that a "multi-level response" for kitchen fires--including an alarm and cutting off the LPG fuel supply--might help get a handle on this problem.
Akshay Jain of IIT Gandhinagar and Adnan Ansari of Underwriters Laboratories India, present "Standard Cooking Fire Scenarios for Imminent Fire Detection" at SUPDET 2013. Read an abstract of their presentation.
Daniel Gottuk of Hughes Associates ended the cooking fires segment of the conference with his presentation on a study that aims to develop a standard fire test for cooking fire prevention technologies. The study is a follow-up to a Fire Protection Research Foundation project ("Home Cooking Fire Mitigation: Technology Assessment") completed in 2011 that identified and assessed these technologies. The objectives of the new study are as follows:
"There are [cooking fire] technologies that are being used and researched," said Gottuk. "There needs to be a standard way to evaluate these technologies on a consistent basis."
Visit the SUPDET 2013 page for more information all of the conference's topics.
Related: Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and civilian home fire injuries. This is true for both fires reported to fire departments and those handled without fire department assistance. Download a free copy of NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report by Marty Ahrens.