Kitchen/Cooking Safety Tips

Stand By Your Pan

How often has the doorbell rung or a child interrupted you while you were cooking, causing you to forget about the chicken you left sizzling on the stove - until smoke filled the house? If this sounds familiar you may be at risk for a dangerous fire.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, according to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Latest statistics from NFPA say that one out of every three home fires started in the kitchen and more than 140,000 fires a year were related to cooking.

The majority of these fires start when cooking is left unattended. Often when firefighters are called to a cooking-related fire residents tell us they only left the kitchen for a few minutes. Unfortunately, that's all it takes to go from routine to disaster. There is no safe period of time for a cook to step away from a hot stove. Ensure that you have a functional, all-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher near an exit door and learn the manufacturer's instructions for its use.

  • Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended.
  • Keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (e.g. potholders, towels, rags, packaging, curtains).
  • Keep children away from cooking areas - enforce a "kid-free zone" of three feet around the stove.
  • Keep pets from underfoot to prevent tripping while cooking.
  • Never use a wet oven mitt - it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.
  • Always keep a potholder, oven mitt and lid handy.

If a Fire Starts on the Stove

  • Put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan.
  • Turn off the burner.
  • Don't remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire.
  • Never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire - it can spray or shoot burning grease, spreading the fire.

If a Fire Starts in the Oven

  • Turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing.
  • Call the fire department (911) and make sure to have the oven serviced before you use it again.

If a Fire Starts in the Microwave

  • Keep the door closed and unplug the microwave.
  • Food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot - remove lids/coverings carefully to prevent steam burns.

If the Fire Does Not Go Out...

Leave the house immediately and call the fire department (911) from a neighbour's house.

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