London Fire Brigade

Safety in the kitchen

Community safety campaign poster of a chip pan fryer.

Around 60 per cent of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen. Taking a few simple measures can make all the difference.

Make your kitchen safe

  • Keep electrical leads, tea towels, cloths, loose clothing and anything else that may catch fire away from the oven and hob.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean – a build-up of fat and grease can easily catch fire.
  • Keep your toaster clean, free of crumbs and away from curtains, kitchen rolls and anything else that could catch fire.
  • Never put anything metallic inside your microwave.
  • Never attempt to sterilise dish cloths or sponges by heating them in the microwave.
  • Never overload sockets – use one plug in each socket. If you have to, use a fused adapter and keep the total output to no more than 13 amps (a kettle alone uses 13 amps). Remember, high-rated appliances such as washing machines always need their own socket.
  • Make sure plugs have the correct fuse for the appliance being used. If in doubt, refer to the manufacturers instructions.
  • Turn off electrical appliances when not being used and have them serviced regularly.  
  • Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
  • Use a spark device to light gas cookers as this is safer than using matches or lighters.
  • Never leave children alone in the kitchen. Keep matches, lighters and pan handles where children can’t reach them. Fit a child safety catch to the oven door.
  • Keep handles of pans turned to the back of the hob and away from other gas burners/electric rings.
  • Take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill if you have to leave the kitchen while cooking, and make sure the oven, hob and grill is turned off when you have finished cooking.
  • Avoid cooking if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that can make you drowsy.

Chip pans / hot fat frying

  • Never fill a pan more than a third full with fat or oil.
  • Dry chips/food before putting them in the pan.
  • If the oil has started smoking turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool down, otherwise it may catch fire.
  • Turn off the hob if you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking.

If your pan catches fire:

  • Don't panic and don’t take risks.
  • Don't move the pan.
  • Never throw water or use a 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

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