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.

Heat alarms

Every kitchen in your home should have at least one heat alarm fitted and linked to your smoke alarms. 

Heat alarms are ideal for kitchens, the number one location for house fires.

  • They are not activated by smoke, fumes or dust
  • They are activated by heat
  • They give you early warning of a cooking fire.  If a cooking fire breaks out in your kitchen the heat alarm is likely to alert you before any smoke alarms in your home.
  • They can also be used in garages, boiler rooms, lofts and other areas where there are normally high levels of fumes, smoke or dust
  • The can help you avoid false nuisance alarms caused by cooking fumes for example frying food or burning toast
  • They only cover a relatively small area of a room, so potentially several heat alarms need to be installed in a large kitchen.

Even if you have working smoke alarms throughout your home, fitting a heat alarm in the kitchen is a great additional safety measure.

General cooking

  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and at least one heat alarm in every 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

  • Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector in all rooms where there is an open fire or stove
  • 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