Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
What you should know about home cooking safety
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
Safety considerations for cooking with oil
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
- Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
- Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water on the fire.
- If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.
- Never put water on a grease fire; it will only fuel the flames.
Additional Safety Tips
- Before the first use each year, check your propane cylinder hose for leaks.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended.
- Never use a grill on a balcony.
- When your grill is in use, it should be kept in an open space, away from anything that might catch fire, including siding, deck railings, eaves, or tree branches.
- Keep your grill away from play areas or places with high foot traffic.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid on coals or kindling you’ve already ignited.
- Plug the microwave directly into an outlet. Using an extension cord can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
- Open food that you’ve heated in the microwave slowly, and hold it away from your face to prevent scalding from escaping steam.
- If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Do not open the door until the fire is completely out. Have the microwave serviced before using it again.
- Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge and use the back burners when possible.
- When cooking, wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves. If your clothes do catch fire, stop, drop, and roll!
- Burns require immediate attention. Run the area under cool water for 3–5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. If the burn is bigger than your fist, or if you have questions about caring for the injury, get medical help right away.