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Kitchen Safety

Cooking Fire Safety

Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking behaviors. Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.

It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children:

  • Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds. 
  • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. 
  • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames. 
  • Never use the range or oven to heat your home. Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. 

Kitchen Safety

Every year many residential fires start in the kitchen, and is the largest category for causes of residential fires. The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house because it contains many hazards that can cause burns and unintentional fires. It's important to know how to use heating and cooking equipment functions, and to know how to extinguish a grease fire. It is also important to protect young children from these heating and cooking appliances. A little knowledge and a lot of caution can prevent damaging fires, injuries, and loss of life. 

Ovens and Ranges

Grease residue can cause a fire or cause food to catch fire. Make sure your cooking surfaces are clean and free from grease or food that has spilled. Remember food is hot because it is burning.

To keep children and cooks safe, keep pot and pan handles inward away from the edge of the stove. In doing this, do not place handles over an open flame or heated burner while you are cooking. Do not wear blousey clothes or loose sleeves that may catch fire when leaning over the stove or reaching to a back burner.

To keep children and cooks safe, keep pot and pan handles inward away from the edge of the stove. In doing this, do not place handles over an open flame or heated burner while you are cooking. Do not wear blousey clothes or loose sleeves that may catch fire when leaning over the stove or reaching to a back burner.

Also, remember to keep fabrics such as dish rags and towels away from open flames or heated burners as the temperature will ignite them.Vapors from contact cement, gasoline, cleaning fluids or other flammable liquids can be ignited by the pilot of the kitchen range.

Children in the Kitchen

The best defense is a good offense. Children should not play in the kitchen. The possibility of burns from cooking food or grease is significant. If the child is in the kitchen they must be supervised continuously. This is even truer as children are taught to cook and clean. It is important to teach safety as much as technique. Keep all hot items at a safe distance from a child. 

As mentioned above, handles of pots and pans must be turned inward. There are other potential problems. A child can reach and pull. Pans, dish clothes with hot material on them, or potholders are things that can cause food or grease to be pulled onto the child creating scald injuries. Most kitchens are pathways for children’s play.

Make the kitchen a safe zone. When moving food or hot liquids from stove to table keep children safe and off from underneath you feet. Ovens cannot only be dangerous from the surface cooking area but the oven door can be a potential hazard. It can get hot and it is also access to the oven in which there is a severe hazard for burns. It can be opened and when it opens may cause an injury if it falls on a child. So you have both a burn and injury potential. Do not allow appliance cords to dangle over the edge of counter tops or tables. Children may pull at them and injure themselves.

When you allow a child to play with pots and pans you are exposing that child to risk. They may not understand that when you are cooking those pots and pans are not longer toys but dangerous. Be sure children are old enough to understand the safe use of the microwave oven before allowing them to heat foods. Children may not be able to read the instructions and may not understand the dangers. Children at a younger age are also shorter and must reach for items in the microwave and this may pose a tip hazard. Have safe stools available for children and supervision is very important when handling hot foods.


We recommend using only appliances that have received an Underwriters' Laboratory or Factory Mutual testing label. This label can be found on the appliance or in documentation received with the appliance. When using appliances it is important not to overload circuits. Do not use adapters to defeat the intended use of your circuits.

Check your cords for being broken or frayed and do not use until they are repaired or replaced. Electrical tape is not a substitution for good repair. Do not allow appliance cords to dangle over the edge of counter tops or tables. You may catch them unintentionally and pull them off the counter.

Grease Fires

If you have a grease fire in a pan on top of the stove, if you can, quickly and carefully cover the pan with a lid or a larger pan and smother the fire. Do not take the lid off until the pan is cool and the fire is out as it can reignite. Deny the fire heat by turning off the controls and or closing the door.

Use caution when handling and cutting thick pieces of meat after heating, especially meats with considerable fat. Spattering of hot fat and meat juices may occur.

Keep a portable fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. There are many inexpensive extinguishers on the market and you can call your local fire department for recommendations.

When you have a grease fire that is uncontained on the surface of your stove. Call your local fire department. There is danger that such a fire may get into a wall and continue to burn unawares until it is a much bigger fire. The best way to put a fire out is when it is small. Fires may smolder in cabinets or walls and it is always best to be safe.

Microwave Ovens

Microwave Ovens can be deceiving in that noticeable heat is not always present and cooking times associated with different items is reduced. This may cause an individual to believe that something may need more time to cook and or the interior of the food is hotter that the exterior.

The Microwave Oven is a convenience that is in many homes and the misuse of this appliance is on the rise. Scald injuries from heating foods or water or a cold cup of coffee are the most common types and involve injuries to the hand. Microwave Popcorn is popular today and if cooking time is not regulated can cause a fire hazard.

More and more children are using the Microwave and it is important that they be instructed and supervised in its safe use. The Microwave cooks from the inside out and even though the outside is cool the inside may pose a burn or scald injury. When you remove items from the Microwave always use a potholder or cooking mitt.

To keep you from burns never check the heat of an object with your finger. Always use utensils to remove lids and coverings from heated containers to prevent burns. When heating TV dinners or packaged food always follow the directions. Read all instructions as to the Microwave that you own. The manufacturer will always have instructions on the safe use of your Microwave.

Do not cook foods in sealed containers, it is important to puncture pouches and coverings to prevent vapor pressure from building and to prevent steam burns. Always be careful when opening packages heated in the Microwave as steam is released it can scald the hands.

Some foods such as eggs or potatoes may pose a burst hazard. To prevent this cut the potato skin or take the egg out of its shell to cook. Do not place metal in the microwave when you are cooking.

Aluminum foil, staples in bags, twist-ties, etc. may become very hot and ignite combustible containers.  Always make sure that items placed in the Microwave are identified by the manufacturer for being safe for use in your Microwave Oven. If you dish or container gets hot on the exterior surface chances are it is not microwave save and should not be used again If there is installation necessary for your Microwave, have it done properly and follow all manufacturer’s recommendations.

Allow for proper ventilation when you place the Microwave in your kitchen and do not cover the vents by using the top of the Microwave for storage. A Microwave Oven should shut off when the door is opened, it should never run while the door is open.