Food frying in pan on gas stove

Cooking Safety

More fires begin in the kitchen than in any other room in the home. In fact, residential cooking is one of the leading causes of fire-related deaths. The majority of kitchen fires start with cooking equipment, primarily with stoves and microwave ovens. 

Cooking safety tips
  • Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove. A small child could pull on a handle and be burned or scalded by its contents.
  • Avoid loose clothing while cooking. Loose clothing can brush heating elements and easily catch fire.
  • Never leave food cooking unattended on the stove.
  • Never store frequently used items above the stove where you may be burned reaching to get them.
  • Remove pans of cooking fat or oils from the stove when not in use. It's easy to turn on the wrong burner accidentally.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean because built-up grease and food particles can easily ignite. Keep combustibles (i.e. curtains, dish towels, plastic or wood utensils, newspapers, grocery bags) away from the stove, oven and all appliances.
  • Unplug kettles, frying pans and other appliances when not in use.
  • Do not place metal, foil, or other combustible materials in the microwave. Ensure that all materials have been deemed microwave safe on the packaging.
  • Make stove controls easy to read from a distance - perhaps mark "off" with a bright red dot.
  • Examine the stove and oven, toasters, coffee makers, and other cooking devices for signs of cracking, fraying or wear on cords and plugs.
  • Look for signs of overheating.
  • Check for recognized testing laboratory labels to show that the unit has been well designed.
  • Keep matches out of reach of children. Explain the dangers to your children.
Grease and pan fires
  •  Always smother grease and pan fires. Never place water on them.
  • Turn off the stove. Smother flames with a pot lid or larger pan, if possible. Protect your hand with an oven mitt or wrapped dishtowel.
  • Use an approved portable fire extinguisher only if you are familiar with its safe operation.
  • Never throw water or use flour on a grease fire.
  • In case of an oven fire, close the oven door and turn off the oven. Never touch or attempt to carry a flaming pot. The contents may spill, spread or burn you.
  • If the fire is not brought under control immediately, get you and your family out and call 911.

For more cooking fire safety tips, visit NFPA.

BBQ outside grilling

Barbecue Safety

Another common cause of fires are barbecues. Please take the time to inspect your grill and ensure your safety. Before you begin, make sure your propane or natural gas barbecue is in safe, good working order.

Barbecue safety tips
  • Keep children and pets far away from a hot grill, and never leave them unsupervised in the area of an ignited barbecue.
  • Never use wood, charcoal briquettes, barbecue starter fluid or gasoline in conjunction with your propane or natural gas barbecue. Doing so is likely to result in a highly flammable and volatile situation that may cause extensive damage to your property, personal injury or loss of life.
  • Barbecue in an open outdoor space due to ventilation and safety reasons. Keep the barbecue at least three metres from windows and doors.
  • Keep the barbecue away from wooden fences, wooden walls, combustible overhead roofs, and trees with low branches.
  • Do not allow an accumulation of grease to occur by keeping your grill and burners clean. This will help minimize the chances that you will have a serious grease fire.
  • Never fight a grease fire with water. This will only cause the flames to flare up.
  • Keep loose clothing away from a hot barbecue.
  • Roll up your sleeves or cook in a short-sleeved shirt. If your clothing catches on fire, quickly stop, drop and roll.
  • Use long-handled tongs and brushes while grilling to put an extra bit of distance between you and the flames.
  • Wear oven mitts and a heavy apron to protect yourself from fire while grilling.
  • If you do burn yourself, run the affected area under cool water for five minutes. If your burn is serious (charring, blistering), seek medical attention right away.
Inspecting your barbecue
  • Dirt and debris can build up inside the grill over the winter months. Carefully clean out any particles, dust, and cobwebs that may have built up over the winter. Newer barbecues have spider guards to prevent them from entering the burner and burner tubes, however, if yours does not, use a pipe cleaner or wire to ensure that spider webs have not built up inside. Remove lava rocks and grates for a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water.
  • Clean your burner ports to ensure they are free of dirt and rust.
  • Make sure that the barbecue hose is in good condition and is free of cracks. Propane or Natural Gas leaking from a cracked hose may send out a stream that, if ignited, can produce huge flames.
  • Check to ensure that all connections are tight and that there are no leaks. Do not use a match or lighter to check for leaks. You can brush a mixture of soap and water onto the connections and hoses (a 50/50 mix), and any rising bubbles will indicate a leak. Repair your barbecue so that there are no more bubbles.
  • Replace rusty or damaged propane tanks that are more than 10 years old.
  • If you're not sure about the condition of a barbecue part, you should replace it with a new component.
  • Call a certified fuel appliance repair person if you do not feel comfortable completing safety checks yourself.
Learn more about barbecue safety on the NFPA website.