Kitchen safety

More fires start in the kitchen that anywhere else in the home. The following guide will provide you with advice to help prevent kitchen fires.

Install Heat Alarms

Every kitchen should have at least one heat alarm fitted and linked to your smoke alarms. If you have a large kitchen, install multiple heat alarms.    

Heat alarms are ideal for kitchens because they:  

  • are not activated by smoke, fumes, or dust 
  • give you early warning of a cooking fire. If a cooking fire breaks out in your kitchen the heat alarm can alert you before any smoke alarms in your home 
  • can help you avoid false alarms caused by cooking fumes, for example frying food or burning toast 

Heat alarms are useful in any room where there are high levels of fumes, smoke or dust. Such as:  

  • garages 
  • boiler rooms 
  • lofts 



  • Make sure your cooker is or has been fitted properly 
  • Keep your oven, cooker, and grill clean and make sure there’s no fat on it 
  • Keep tea towels, cloths, and kitchen paper away from the cooker 
  • Cook with handles turned to the side to avoid them spilling 
  • Use a flameless lighter on gas cookers instead of matches or a lighter   


  • Hang or dry clothing and towels on or near the cooker 
  • Leave your cooker, grill, or oven on when you go out – even on a timer 
  • Leave electrical wires or cords near the cooker 
  • If your cooker has and eye-level grill, don't keep anything on top of it 
  • Put anything metal in your microwave – even tin foil 

Cooking, drugs, and alcohol

Avoid cooking if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs. 

If you have been drinking, or taking drugs, you will be  

  • less alert to the signs of fire 
  • more likely to fall asleep while appliances are turned on  
  • less likely to wake up if a fire does start - particularly if you do not have working smoke and heat alarms  

If a fire breaks out, alcohol or drugs can heighten feelings of disorientation, making it harder for you to escape. 

What to do instead  

If you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, prepare cold food at home, or buy takeaway hot food instead.    

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Visit NHS Inform for more information.  

Washing machines, tumble dryers, and dishwashers

Large appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers, and dishwashers have powerful parts that heat up. This increases the risk of a fire starting if something goes wrong.

You should always:  

  • switch appliances off at the wall before you go to bed or go out 
  • plug straight into a wall socket and avoid using adaptors, as they can result in electricity overloads 

Never leave washing machines, tumble dryers, or dishwashers running when you go out or to bed.  

Open fires and stoves  

You should always: 

  • Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector in rooms with an open fire or stove 
  • Keep all furniture at least 3 ft. away from your fire 
  • Keep the guard up at all times if you have children or pets 
  • Put the fire guard up if you feel sleepy 
  • Let fires burn down before going to bed – and don’t forget to put the guard up 
  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year - twice if you use it lots 
  • Check your hearth regularly – if it’s cracked, have it fixed professionally 

You should never: 

  • Leave a lit fire unattended without a fireguard 
  • Use flammable liquids like barbecue lighter fuel to light a fire 
  • Throw flammable liquids or spray cans onto the fire 
  • Use building or packing timber as firewood – it’s very sparky 
  • Dry clothes over or in front of the fire – they could catch light 
  • Place mirrors over the fire – people stand too close and risk setting clothes on fire 

Maintaining stoves

To prevent risk, you should also:  

  • Replace any cracked door glass or casings immediately 
  • Always use certified fire glass in stove doors 
  • Use the right type of fuel (using coal in wood stoves can damage them) 
  • Be careful not to leave flammable items like clothes and paper on top of the stove 

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