As the public has largely remained at home in response to COVID-19, NFPA has anticipated that higher-than-normal use of home cooking, heating, and electrical equipment would likely result in an increase of associated home fires.
An online story posted yesterday on WTOP News, a Washington D.C.-based radio station, reinforced these concerns, reporting that Maryland fire departments have been receiving more calls related to cooking fires in recent weeks.
“Now that we have people home, we knew this was going to happen. We have seen an uptick in fires,” said Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci.
Geraci expressed concerns around usage of heating equipment as well, noting that one man recently died using an oven as a heater; he also pointed to higher use of electrical equipment.
“A lot of people are online, watching TV — they’ve got new devices that they’re doing their homework on and they’re starting to use the multi-plug outlets and those types of things, and we’re starting to see those fires as well,” Geraci said.
While NFPA can’t track the number of calls fire departments have been receiving over the past few weeks, it’s likely that other states also are experiencing a higher volume of fire-related calls.
As departments across the country work to address these and other fire and life safety issues in their communities, NFPA is continuing to provide information and resources that can help support their efforts on multiple fronts during this challenging time.
A recent blog provides NFPA tips and recommendations for preventing cooking, heating and electrical equipment fires.