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More than 50 per cent of accidental fires at home are started by cooking. Many of these start when we get distracted or leave the cooking unattended.

It’s easy to leave the cooking unattended if the phone goes or the doorbell rings, when we are being distracted by children, family of friends or even whilst we do other jobs around the home.

When cooking

  • Don’t get distracted when you are cooking. Turn off or turn down the heat if you have to leave the cooking unattended
  • Don’t cook if you have been drinking alcohol your concentration levels are lower. The risk of accidents is greater in the kitchen if you have been drinking
  • Make sure saucepan handles are not sticking out from the hob or over a naked flame
  • Don’t leave children alone in the kitchen, keep matches, lighters and saucepan handles out of reach of children and fit a safety catch on the oven door
  • Don’t use matches or lighters to light gas cookers. Spark devices are safer, these can be bought from hardware stores
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing as it can catch fire easily
  • Remember to check that the oven or hob are switched off after you have finished cooking


Hobs, ovens and microwaves

  • Keep tea towels, clothes and electrical leads away from the cooker and hob
  • Clean your oven, hob and toaster on a regular basis. A build-up of fat, crumbs or grease can easily catch fire
  • Don’t put anything that is made of metal or is metallic inside the microwave

Chip pans and deep frying

  • Take extra care when deep-fat frying or cooking with oil. Hot oil can catch fire easily. Use a thermostat controlled deep-fat fryer which will make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot
  • Dry the food before you put it in oil
  • If the oil starts to smoke it’s too hot. Turn of the heat and leave to cool
  • If it catches fire
    • don’t move it because it will be very hot
    • If it is safe to do so – turn off the heat. Never lean over the pan to reach the controls
    • Never use water on chip pan fires as this will cause a fire ball
    • Get out, stay out, call 999


General kitchen safety

Kitchen fires can also start by being careless with appliances.

  • Regularly check that the ventilation in your kitchen, like range hoods or fans is working properly and is not blocked up. This is especially important if you have a gas cooker in case any leaking gas builds up
  • Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water
  • Electrical appliances should be turned off at the plug when they’re not being used
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets
    • Only have one plug in each socket
    • If you need more plugs than there are sockets, use a ‘bar type’ fuse adaptor
    • Keep the total amps of all plugs in the adaptor to 13 amps or less
    • Remember that higher-amp appliances such as washing machines always need a socket to themselves
  • If an electrical appliance catches fire:
    • Don’t throw water on it
    • If it is safe to do so, you may be able to put out the fire immediately by pulling out the plug for the appliance or switching off the power at the fuse box
    • If the fire doesn’t go out, get out of the house, stay out and call 999


You can see our other comprehensive tips here

Call us on 0121 439 1220 or email