Picture of a hand stirring a pot on the stove

Cooking Safety 


Cooking brings family and friends together, provides an outlet for creativity and can be relaxing.  But did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries?  By following a few safety tips you can prevent these fires.  

Cook with Caution

  • Be on alert!  If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.  If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wood utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.

If you have a small (grease) cooking fire and decide to fight the fire...

  • On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner.  Leave the pan covered until it's completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep door closed.

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire...

  • Just get out!  When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.


Cooking and Kids:  Have a "kid-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.  

Fact:  The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.               

Fact:  Most cooking fires in the home involve the kitchen stove.  


 Picture of 3 lite candles

Candle Safety 

Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires - and home fire deaths.  Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn. 

Candle with Care 

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.  Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

If you do burn candles, make sure that you ...

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won't tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully.   Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don't burn a candle all the way down - put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.  
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage.  Never use candles. 

Think about using flameless candles in your home.  They look and smell like real candles. 

Candles & Kids:  Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.  Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's reach, in a locked cabinet. 

Fact:  December is the peak time of the year for home candle fires. 

Fact:  Roughly one-third of home candle fires start in the bedroom. 

Fact:  More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle. 

 Picture of flame from portable heater

Heating Safety 

There is something about the winter months and curling up with a good book by the fireplace.  But did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths?  With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.  

Be warm and safe this winter! 

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot "kid free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. 
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.  Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.  Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month. 

Heating equipment smarts

  • Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer's instructions or have a professional do the installation.  All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  • Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.  If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance.  Leave the home immediately and call 9-1-1. 

Fact:  Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.