When cooking, always keep an eye on your cooking equipment, especially when using oils or fats.

Avoid causing a fire by adopting a few safe habits:

  • Keep the cooking surface clear and orient pan handles so that they do not protrude from the stove.
  • Always keep the lid of the pan within easy reach.
  • Never turn on the stove prematurely.
  • Never move a burning pan.
  • Never allow yourself to be distracted by the telephone, television, etc.
  • Never place combustible objects, such as dish towels, near the cooking surface.
  • Never put combustible objects in the oven, such as a cardboard pizza box, even for a short time.
  • Never use a cooking pot to fry your food.
  • Never fill a fondue burner with fuel while it is still hot.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or flammable fabrics that could ignite when in contact with the heating elements.

Using the proper equipment

Make sure you have the right tools for cooking, including

  • a timer.
  • oven mitts.
  • skillets with handle protectors.
  • a CSA- or ULC-certified fryer with a thermostat.
  • an electric fondue pot with a cord kept out of the reach of children or
  • a gel fuel fondue pot that does not require refilling.
  • a portable fire extinguisher that you know how to use.

Maintaining your cooking equipment

Poor maintenance of your appliances can cause a fire. Here is how to ensure proper maintenance:

  • Clean your cooking appliances and kitchen hood regularly. A build-up of grease is a fire hazard.
  • Regularly clean the containers underneath the electric elements of a coil stove.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the range hood, as grease build-up can catch fire.
  • If you have a self-cleaning oven, do not use the self-cleaning function if a lot of residue has accumulated on the bottom of the oven. Such residue could ignite due to the high heat.

Using various fats

It is important to read the label on fats before using them. Some fats must be consumed uncooked while others are ideal for heating foods. However, only a few should be used at high temperatures, such as for frying.

When the fat reaches a too high temperature, smoke appears, indicating that the fat is starting to break down. It is then recommended to lower the temperature.

Continuous smoke indicates that the fat has reached its smoke point. It is not recommended for consumption.

FatSmoke point (°C)
Butter130°C
Margarine140°C
Vegetable frying fat175°C
Olive oil210°C
Sunflower oil210°C
Soybean oil220°C
Peanut oil220°C

Never allow a smoking oil to continue to heat! The temperature will keep rising and flames may appear.

What to do in case of a cooking fire

If a fire starts on your stove, here are some rules of thumb:

  • Never try to put out an oil fire with water! Water fuels and spreads the fire!
  • Never move a pan with flaming contents.
  • Quickly place a properly sized lid on the burning pan.
  • If possible, turn off all heating elements, the oven, and the range hood.

Call the fire department, even if the fire appears to be out. The fire could have gotten into the hood duct.

If the fire is out, but there is a build-up of smoke, open windows and doors to ventilate, and then leave your home at once.

If the fire spreads, evacuate quickly and call 911.

When you return to your home after a fire, replace your stove or have it inspected by a specialist before using it again. Do the same for any other cooking appliance.

If you use a propane or natural gas barbecue, check out these prevention tips for safe barbecue use and maintenance.