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Cooking and fire safety.

Around 60% of fires in the home begin in the kitchen. However, it's easy to enjoy cooking more safely with a little research, planning and awareness. 

Fire prevention in the kitchen

Fires are more likely to start in your kitchen than any other room in your home, but on this page, 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.

Smoke alarm or heat alarm?

One of the best ways to stay safe is to install the right alarm. Smoke alarms are a great choice for many rooms, but are less suitable for steamy, sometimes-smoky kitchens. Instead, we recommend a heat alarm that detects changes in temperature. 

  • Fires are more likely to start in your kitchen than any other room in your home. In fact, heat alarms are available for under £10 online and at DIY stores.
  • You don't need an electrician to fit one – they are battery powered like smoke alarms.
  • They won't go off if you sear a steak, boil steamy rice or singe your toast.

If you're not sure if you – or someone you care for – has the right smoke and heat alarms in place to keep safe, why not book a free home fire safety visit? We can come to your home and provide lots of help and advice on fire prevention. 

Practical steps 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:

  1. Try not to leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill – if you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the heat. 
  2. Not feeling 100%? Order a takeaway – if you're very tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that might make you drowsy, it's safer not to risk it. 
  3. Be fabric aware – loose clothing can easily catch fire, so take care not to lean over a hot hob, and always keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  4. Try to keep the oven, hob, cooker hood, extractor fan and grill clean – built up fat and grease can ignite and cause a fire.
  5. Use spark devices to light gas cookers – they are much safer than matches or lighters, as they don’t have a naked flame. They are safer around children, too.
  6. Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking – if you're forgetful (or someone you care for can be), why not take a photo if you have a smartphone? The action will remind you to double check every time. 
  7. Check toasters are clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets or close to anything that can catch fire.
  8. Never put anything metal in the microwave.

Always keep an eye on children and pets in the kitchen: don't leave them unsupervised; put matches away; and keep saucepan handles out of reach.

What to do if clothes catch fire?

If clothes have caught fire, don’t run. Try and remember ‘stop, drop, roll' – which means: 

  1. Stop – don’t run, you’ll make the flames worse.
  2. Drop – lie down on the ground at once.
  3. Roll – in heavy fabric or a fire blanket to smother the flames, though just on the ground will help. 
Firefighter explaining how to use a fire alarm to two elderly community members

Book a home fire safety visit

Did you know that we can visit you at home to provide advice about fire safety?

Find out more

Guides and extra information

London Fire Brigade Home safety logo

Fire safety in the home guide

Download PDF (3,682kb)

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