Cooking with Care

Most destructive fires start in the kitchen when cooking is left unattended. A significant number of these fires are the result of overheated cooking oil in deep fat fryers or pans heated directly on kitchen stoves.

Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home injury in Edmonton.

In 2019, fires caused by overheated cooking oil, grease and wax, led to more than $2.6 million dollars in property damage.

Download the Stay Safe Sheet: Cooking with Care to learn more.

Keep Fire Out of Your Kitchen

Never leave cooking food unattended
  • Avoid cooking when sleepy or drowsy due to medication or alcohol
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, broiling, simmering, roasting or baking food
  • If you leave the area, even for a short time, turn off the stove or oven
  • Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking
Protect children and pets
  • Establish a "kid-free" and/or "pet-free" zone of at least 3 feet (1 metre) around the stove and areas where hot food or hot beverages are prepared and/or carried
  • Keep matches out of reach of children
  • Turn pot handles inwards so they cannot be pulled down
Keep the kitchen clean and clear of combustibles
  • Keep the hood, filter, fan and duct above the stove clean and free of grease buildup
  • This includes curtains, dishcloths and dishtowels, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, pot holders, recipe books and food packaging
  • Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach
Maintain appliances
  • Keep your electrical appliances in good working order
  • Don't overload outlets
  • Replace frayed cords immediately as they are a fire hazard
Prevent burns and injuries
  • Wear clothing with short or tight sleeves when cooking, as loose clothing can catch fire from a gas flame or electric burner
  • Prevent accidents by turning pot handles toward the back of the stove when cooking
  • Do not store items (i.e., spices) at the back of the stove - this will prevent the risk of burns when reaching for cooking items
  • Carefully remove lids or other coverings to prevent steam burns when cooking food in a microwave
  • Always keep a lid nearby when you are cooking

Putting Out Small Kitchen Fires

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire, evacuate the area. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Once you are safely outside, call 9-1-1 for help.

TIP: Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach.

Grease Fires
  • Wearing an oven mitt, use the pot lid like a shield and slide it over the top of the pot. If you do not have a pot lid, a cookie sheet can be used instead.
  • Turn off the heat
  • Do not pour water onto a grease fire
  • Do not move the pan and do not remove the lid or cover until the fire is completely out and the contents have had time to cool (at least 15 minutes)
Stove Top Fires - Cooking Oil
  • Turn off the heat and exhaust fan
  • Put a lid on the pot/pan to smother the fire
  • Never try to carry a pot/pan of burning oil outside
  • Never throw water onto a cooking oil fire
  • Do not pour burning oil down the sink
Oven Fires
  • Turn off the heat
  • Close the oven door and keep it closed
  • Use a fire extinguisher if necessary
Microwave Oven Fires
  • Keep the door closed
  • Unplug the appliance
  • Have the microwave serviced by a professional before you use it again