Cooking Safety

More than half accidental fires in the home are started by cooking.

Many cooking fires in Lancashire are caused by people getting distracted. Remember: stay there and cook it. If you need to leave for any reason, turn the hob or oven off.

Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking food is something we all do. But if you get distracted or cook with poor safety habits, it can be very dangerous. With most accidental fires in the home starting while cooking, it’s important you stay safe.

This page features lots of advice to help you reduce the likelihood of having a cooking fire in your home.

Remember: if you do have a fire in your home, don’t attempt to put it out.

Get out, stay out, and call us out via 999.

Cooking safely at home

From ovens and grills to hobs and microwaves, many of the appliances in our kitchens can cause fires. One of the major risks is leaving frying pans or grilling food unattended. Distractions such as the doorbell or your children/pets can take your mind off your cooking. Don’t forget that fires can start in a flash.

There are a few simple things you can do to make cooking as safe as possible:

  • Avoid leaving saucepan handles sticking out – children can grab them, or you might knock it off the hob.

  • Be wary of loose-fitting clothing when cooking.

  • Keep tea towels and dishcloths away from any heat sources.

  • Make sure the oven or hob is off when you’re done.

  • Do not leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the room, turn the hob off.

  • Keep all cooking appliances clean and in good working order.

  • Do not use grills or ovens as storage space when not cooking.

  • If you’ve been drinking or using drugs, order a takeaway rather than cooking.

  • Use a timer while cooking to alert you when a set time is up. This can help remind you to turn off the heat.

Deep fat frying

The tips we have already looked at can help to reduce the chances of fire or injury.

If you deep fry food, there are a few extra things to remember:

  • Do not overfill pans or fryers with oil – keep it to 1/3 full.

  • Pat food dry before dropping it in the oil to reduce splashing.

  • If your oil begins to smoke, turn down the heat and wait for it to cool.

  • Thermostat-controlled fryers are safer because they cannot overheat.

  • Never throw water onto an oil fire. This is hazardous.

  • Never attempt to extinguish a pan fire. Get to safety and call 999.

Cooking using deep oil can be more hazardous than other methods of cooking. Take extra care with loose-fitting clothing which can catch fire.

If your clothing does catch on fire, remember to Stop, Drop, and Roll. This will help extinguish the fire quickly, reducing burns.

Who is at risk of cooking fires?

Cooking fires affect all age groups. But people aged 65 and over are at the highest risk. Older people also account for more serious injuries

To improve safety in your kitchen, you should install and test working smoke alarms. This is the best safeguard to protect you and your home from harm.

Would you know what to do if you have a cooking fire?

  1. Stay calm. Leave the room and close the door behind you.

  2. Get out of the house.

  3. Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.

  4. Stay outside until firefighters arrive and make it safe to reenter.

Never attempt to move a pan that’s on fire. This is how many burn victims get their injuries.

If you have a safeguarding concern

If you’re worried about the fire safety of a loved one or a neighbour, we can help.

Visit our home fire safety check page and fill in the form. This will let us provide personalised safety advice. If the person meets certain criteria, we will organise a home visit.

You should also ask the person the adopt safe cooking methods. This can mean avoiding deep-fat frying or investing in a timer. If they are very unsafe in the kitchen, consider asking them to stop cooking hot food.

Watch our Stay There and Cook It safety video, which encourages you not to get distracted while cooking.

More resources

We offer safety advice for more, related topics. These pages can help you protect yourself and your family. These links will take you to more helpful advice.

For more on how to stay safe, please contact Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. Call us on 01772 862545 or fill in the contact form on our Contact Us page.