Kitchen Safety

More than half of all fires in the home are caused by cooking accidents

  • Watch the two-minute video above for lots of kitchen safety tips.
  • Click here for a handy Watch What You Heat poster.
  • Never try to cook while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Don't leave pans on the hob when you're not around. Take them off the heat if you have to leave the kitchen and switch off the hob
  • Keep the oven, hob, toaster and grill clean - a build-up of fat, crumbs or grease can easily catch fire
  • Don't use your hob as an extension of your kitchen worktop by placing other items on it when you are not using it for cooking
  • Take care if you're wearing loose clothing as it can easily catch fire
  • Keep electrical leads, tea towels, dishcloths and other items which could catch fire away from the cooker or hob
  • Angle saucepan handles so they don't stick out from the hob, or over a naked flame
  • Don't use matches or lighters to light gas cookers - spark devices, which you can buy from hardware stores, are safer
  • Never leave children alone in the kitchen
  • Fit a safety catch on the oven door
  • Don't put anything that is made of metal or is metallic inside the microwave
  • When you have finished cooking, make sure you switch off the oven and hob 

This carefully-controlled demonstration at a fire station open day shows how quickly a fire in a pan of overheated cooking oil can spread if it comes into contact with water.

The pictures were taken at intervals of one second. The firefighter poured the water out of a cup at the end of a long handle.

If a pan of cooking oil catches fire:

  • Don't move the pan.
  • Don't throw water over it - you will only spread the fire, and may injure yourself in the process.
  • Don't attempt to put the fire out yourself.
  • Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so. It may be safer to turn off the gas or electricity at the mains isolator.
  • Get out of your home, closing the doors behind you.
  • Call 999.
  • Stay outside.

You can reduce the risk of this type of fire starting by:

  • Making sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn’t splash. If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Never fill the fryer more than a third full of oil.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended when you are using it.
  • Using a thermostat-controlled electric deep fat fryer. They can’t overheat.