Kitchen Safety

More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room in the house. Here’s some advice to help you stay safe.

General cooking

  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms. Consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen
  • Make sure your cooker is or has been fitted properly by a qualified fitter
  • Keep your oven, cooker and grill clean and make sure there’s no fat on it
  • Keep tea towels, cloths and kitchen paper away from the cooker
  • Keep fats and oils away from the cooker
  • Cook with handles turned to the side to avoid them spilling
  • Use a flameless lighter on gas cookers instead of matches or a lighter
You should never:
  • Hang or dry clothing and towels on or near the cooker
  • Leave your cooker, grill or oven on when you go out – even on a timer
  • Leave electrical wires or cords near the cooker
  • Keep anything on top of an eye-level grill
  • Put anything metal in your microwave – even tin foil

Chip pans and deep-frying

Modern electric deep fat fryers are much safer than traditional chip pans as they have a safety switch that cuts them off to stop them overheating and catching fire.

Try not to use a traditional chip pan if you can because there's always a high risk of fire. If you do use a traditional chip pan, follow our safety advice:

  • Only ever fill one third full
  • Turn the handle to the side – but not over any of the other cooker rings
  • Fry in small amounts – overfilling could cause spills
  • Make sure food going in it is dry, not dripping wet or covered in ice.
You should never:
  • Deep fry when you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking drugs or if you are feeling tired
  • Leave the pan alone - It only takes a second for a fire to start

Other kitchen appliances

Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers have powerful parts that heat up, any of which could start a fire if something goes wrong. Follow our safety advice:

  • Always switch appliances off at the wall before going to bed or going out
  • Always plug straight into a wall socket and avoid adaptors for lots of plugs as they can result in electricity overloads

  • Never Leave them running when going out or to bed

Open fires and stoves

  • Keep all furniture at least three feet away from your fire
  • Put the fire guard up if you feel sleepy
  • Let fires burn down before going to bed – and don’t forget to put the guard up
  • Keep the guard up at all times if you have children or pets
  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year - twice if you use it lots
  • Check your hearth regularly – if it’s cracked, have it fixed professionally
You should never:
  • Leave a lit fire unattended without a fireguard
  • Use flammable liquids like barbecue lighter fuel to light a fire
  • Throw flammable liquids or spray cans onto the fire
  • Use building or packing timber as firewood – it’s very sparky
  • Dry clothes over or in front of the fire – they could catch light
  • Place mirrors over the fire – people stand too close and risk setting clothes on fire

For stoves, you should also:

  • Replace any cracked door glass or casings immediately
  • Always use certified fire glass in stove doors
  • Use the right type of fuel (using coal in wood stoves can damage them)
  • Be careful not to leave flammable items like clothes and paper on top of the stove