Safety in the kitchen

Cooking and kitchen safety

More than half of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen. You can find out more about staying fire safe while you cook. From the right kind of alarm, through to practical advice about safety in the kitchen, a quick read now could make all the difference when it really matters.

Do I need a smoke alarm or heat alarm in my kitchen?

Smoke alarms detect smoke- fit a least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home. But are less suitable for steamy, sometimes-smoky kitchens. Instead, we recommend a heat alarm that detects changes in temperature. They won't go off if you boil steamy rice or singe your toast. They are just as easy to fit as smoke alarms, and you can buy them from as little as £10 from DIY stores and online. 

In addition to installing alarms, if you or a family member are more at risk when cooking, for instance, when a person has an illness that makes them more liable to forget, we advise looking into further safety technology, such as Cooker Cut off Devices

Tips for safer cooking

With bubbling pans, open flames and maybe a little one or a pet underfoot, kitchens are potentially dangerous places. Here are our top tips to reduce fire risks:

Cookers and microwaves

  • Keep electrical leads, tea towels and cloths away from your cooker
  • Keep your oven, hob and grill clean. A build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
  • Don't put anything metallic, such as cutlery or tin cans inside the microwave
  • Never put a sponge or dishcloth in the microwave to sterilise it - it could catch fire
  • Take care if you are wearing loose clothing whilst cooking with gas - this can easily catch fire.
  • If clothes do catch fire, don’t run. Remember ‘stop, drop and roll’.
  • Never cook if you’ve taken medication, drugs or alcohol that make you tired or drowsy.


  • Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water
  • Check the toaster is clean and away from curtains and kitchen rolls
  • Turn off electrical appliances when they are not being used and service them regularly
  • Don't overload sockets - only use one plug in each socket
  • If you have to use more than one plug per socket, use a fused adaptor and keep the total output to no more than 13 amps

Deep fat frying food- is it always dangerous?

  • Remember any type of pan can catch fire - this includes a wok, kadai, grill, chip pan or frying pan
  • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of oil. If the oil starts to smoke, it's too hot - turn off the heat and leave it to cool down
  • When deep frying, always dry the food before you put it in the oil
  • Swap your deep frying pan for an electric deep fat fryer - thermostatically controlled electrical deep fat fryers that plug into the wall are much safer to use

 If your pan catches fire: 

  • Don't panic and don't take risks
  • Don't move the pan
  • Never throw water or use a water fire extinguisher on a hot fat fire
  • If it's safe to do so - turn off the heat, but never lean over the pan to reach the controls
  • Leave the kitchen, close the door behind you, tell everyone else in the home to get out and don't go back inside for any reason
  • Call 999