Promote Cooking Fire Safety

Courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration

When you’re cooking at home, are you doing it safely? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the number one cause of home fires in the United States. Whether you’re cooking in your kitchen or using a grill outside, it’s up to you to make sure you’re cooking safely. Below are some cooking safety tips; share these in your community to make sure everyone knows how they can keep their homes safe from cooking fires.

One of the safest things you can do when cooking is simply staying in the kitchen and monitoring the cooking food. Leaving the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food – even for a moment – is very dangerous. Unattended cooking is the single leading factor contributing to cooking fires.

Stay alert

To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.

If you leave the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.

Establish a “safe zone” around cooking areas

Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove or outdoor grill and where hot food or drink is prepared and carried. Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot foods or liquids.

Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.

Wear close-fitting clothing

Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or an electric burner.

Grilling safely

Propane, charcoal, and wood pellet barbecue grills must only be used outdoors.

Place the grill well away from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging braches. Do not store or use a grill on a porch or balcony, including any porch or balcony on an upper level of the building.

Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it can’t be ignited by a hot grill.

Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid except charcoal starter or lighter fluid to start a charcoal fire. Dispose of charcoal coals only after they are cool. Empty the coals into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is only used to collect coals. Never empty coals directly into a trash can!

Always store propane gas tanks outside of buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the tank and leave it outside.

If there is a fire caused by cooking

When in doubt, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. After you leave, call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbor’s telephone.

To learn more about cooking fire safety, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s web site at