Cooking safety starts with you

Woman turning off the stove burner with a pot covered on the stove top.

Fire prevention is a big part of cooking safely. Do you know what to do if a fire starts while you’re cooking?

Follow these fire safety tips to keep the heat in your seasonings and out of your kitchen. When in doubt, even if it’s a small fire, leave the building and call 9-1-1.

Stovetop fires

To prevent a fire on your stovetop:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking – if you need to leave the kitchen, turn off the burner.
  • Set a timer as a reminder to check on your food.
  • Move pan handles towards the side or back of the stove to keep them out of the way.
  • Remove any items that can catch fire, like oven mitts, towels, or wooden utensils, from the stovetop and nearby counters.

If something catches fire on your stovetop, never use water to put out the fire or try to carry the pot or pan.

To put out a small stovetop fire:

  1. Slide a lid over the pot or pan to smother the fire.
  2. Turn off the burner.
  3. Leave the pot or pan covered and do not move it until it’s completely cooled.

Oven and microwave fires

To prevent a fire in your oven or microwave:

  • Stay nearby when cooking and set a timer as a reminder to check on your food.
  • Clean up any food crumbs or spills after you’re done cooking and the oven or microwave is cool.
  • Avoid storing cooking equipment, especially wooden, cloth, or plastic items, in the oven. These may be forgotten when pre-heating the oven.

If something catches fire in your oven, never try to remove the pot or pan.

To put out a small fire in your oven:

  1. Keep the oven or microwave door closed.
  2. Turn off the heat.
  3. Leave the door closed until the oven or microwave is completely cooled.

Smoke alarms

If your smoke alarm beeps when you’re cooking, press the hush button or consider moving the smoke alarm. Remember, you must have at least one smoke alarm on every storey of your home.

Press the test button on your smoke alarm to test it once per month. At the same time, practice your home escape plan and meet your family at a safe meeting place outside.

For more fire safety tips and resources, visit Ottawa Fire Services’ Fire safety, prevention and education page or contact our Fire Prevention and Education Team.

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