Public Education

Cooking Safety

  • Never leave cooking unattended!
  • Always keep an eye on food being heated.
  • If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove or take something like a spoon or oven mitt to remind yourself of the food on the stove.
  • PAY ATTENTION!
  • Never cook if you are sleepy, intoxicated or heavily medicated.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward. Small children can knock over pots full of hot liquid.
  • Keep young children at least 3 feet away from any kitchen appliance that produces heat. Make this a kid-free zone.
  • Keep the stove top clean and clear of any combustible materials.
  • Keep all appliances free of grease build up.
  • Wipe up spills and routinely clean the oven.
  • Move combustible items such as oven mitts and utensils away from heat sources.
  • Dress appropriately for cooking. Wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves.
  • Avoid reaching over the stove for other items.
  • Do not store items above or behind the stove that are combustible or may cause you to burn yourself as you reach for them.
  • Use extreme caution when working near or over hot surfaces.
  • Carefully monitor hot oil when used for cooking.
  • Be careful around the sink while using electrical appliances.
  • Never stand in or near water while using electrical appliances.
  • Check regularly for frayed or damaged cords to appliances.
  • Keep appliances in proper working order.
  • Do not use defective appliances.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Never put metallic materials in the microwave. These materials cause sparks, which may result in a fire.
  • If you have a microwave fire, do not open the door. Unplug it immediately, if plug is accessible. Do not reuse the microwave unless it has been checked by a professional.
  • Steam can cause severe burns. Use caution when opening items where steam is emitting.
  • Keep an ABC portable extinguisher near the kitchen by an exit.
  • Keep a lid nearby when cooking with grease and oils. If a pot catches on fire, place the lid on it, turn off the burner, and call the fire department. Do not attempt to take the pot outside.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms.

Microwave Fire Safety

  • Before using a new microwave, always follow the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions and safety procedures.
  • To minimize the risk of fire, never attempt to heat articles that are not approved for use in microwaves.
  • Do not use metal, metal edge bowls, metal foil or even twist ties in microwaves. The metal can cause arcing which can lead to a fire.
  • Never attempt to dry or sterilize clothes or blankets in microwaves as a fire may result when the items are removed from the microwave.
  • Clean the microwave regularly. This will reduce fire potential. Always unplug the microwave when cleaning.
  • Never use recycled paper in a microwave unless it has been specifically approved for microwave use. Recycled products including paper towels have minute metal flecks which can cause sparks and even flames.
  • Only use microwave safe utensils. The instructions for the microwave often specify what types of containers are safe to use for that appliance.
  • When cooking popcorn, heat according to the instructions. Begin with the minimum time specified. Some microwaves can scorch popcorn in as little as two minutes.
  • Never heat flammable or combustible liquids in the microwave - a fire or explosion may occur.
  • Be extremely careful when removing heated liquids and food from the microwave. The container may only feel warm but the contents are extremely hot. Many scald burns have resulted from the removal of liquids and food from the microwave, especially when used by children. Allow the food or liquid to sit for 60 seconds before removing. Be careful of steam escaping when removing wrappers.
  • If you have a fire in the microwave:
    • Do not open the microwave door.
    • Turn off the microwave and/or unplug the microwave, if the plug is accessible.
    • The fire should suffocate by itself.
    • Call the fire department.
    • Do not reuse the microwave unless it has been check by a technician.