Careless cooking

Careless cooking

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Cooking continues to be the most common cause of home fires and home fire-related injuries.


Whether preparing for a family dinner or a quick snack, practising safe cooking behaviours can help keep you and your family safe.

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, even for a second, turn off the stove.
  • Check your food regularly while cooking.
  • Use a timer so you'll remember that the stove or oven is on.
  • Stay alert. If you're sleepy, fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it's best to avoid cooking.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly-rolled sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can hang down, make contact with hot surfaces and catch fire.
  • Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a "kid-free zone" and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Keep your cooking area free of anything that can catch fire, such as food wrappers, pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains.
  • Built-up grease can catch fire in the oven or on the stove top. Clean your stove's cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup.
  • Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Having an extinguisher nearby is important, but you also need to have the correct type and know how to use it properly. 
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure the stove/oven and all small appliances are turned off.
  • Never throw hot grease in the garbage as it can cause a fire. Be sure to let it cool and dispose of it in an empty can. 

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What to do if a cooking fire flares up:


If a grease fire starts in a pan:

  • Smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan.  Be sure to wear an oven mitt. If safe to do so, turn off the heat source.
  • If you are unable to slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stove, toss baking soda onto the flames.
  • Never use water to put out grease or oil fires. It can cause oil to splatter and spread the fire.
  • Do not move the pan, and keep the lid on until the fire is out and let the pan completely cool.

If a fire starts in your oven:

  • Keep the door closed and turn off the oven. Keeping the door closed will help smother the flames. Do not open the door until the flames are completely out.

If a fire starts in your microwave:

  • Turn off the microwave and do not open the door until the fire is completely out.
  • Unplug the microwave if you can safely do so.

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