Cooking safety

Did you know that cooking fires are a leading cause of house fires? Every year, house fires destroy thousands of homes across Canada. In addition to property damage, house fires can cause serious injuries and even death.

The tips below can help you stay safe and reduce the risk of cooking fires in your home.

On this page:

Cooking safety - general tips

Do

  • Remove all items from the stovetop when you're done cooking.
  • Use a heat-resistant surface to cool down cookware.
  • Keep young children and pets away from stovetops.
  • Install smoke detectors that meet Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) standards on every level of your home and make sure they are functional. Clean and test your smoke detectors and replace batteries once a year.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Keep a pot cover nearby to smother flames in the event of a fire.

Do not

  • Don't leave cooking appliances unattended while in use. Always stay in the kitchen while you are cooking.

Did you know?

Unattended cooking is a leading cause of cooking fires.

Stovetop safety tips

At the store:

  • Look for safety features. When buying a stove, look for one that has additional safety features such as "hot surface" indicator lights.

Before cooking:

  • Learn about your stove. Read the owner's manual for safety tips and to understand how your stovetop works. If you don't have an owner's manual, contact the manufacturer for details on how to obtain one.
  • Check recalls. A number of stovetops have been recalled due to the failure of element controllers. Check if your stovetop has been recalled by contacting the manufacturer and visiting Health Canada's Consumer Product Recalls page or the ESA recalls website.

While cooking:

  • Stay alert. If an element gets hotter than the setting on the control for an extended period of time, stop using it and contact the manufacturer for further instructions.

After cooking:

  • Ensure the element is off when the control is placed in the "off" position. If the element does not turn off, unplug your appliance or shut the power off from the circuit breaker. Contact the manufacturer immediately to obtain further instructions.
  • Report any incidents.

Deep frying safety tips

Deep frying food is a common cause of cooking fires. These types of fires often start because the oil has been cooked at a very high temperature for a long period of time. Avoid potentially serious injuries by following the steps below.

Before cooking:

  • Use an electric deep fryer with a temperature control. It is safer than frying food in a pot or pan.
  • Read the instruction manual to find out how to safely use and store your deep fryer.

While cooking:

  • Heat cooking oil slowly. Heating oil too fast can have the same effect as heating it for too long-- the oil could catch fire.
  • Always remain in the kitchen while you are deep frying food.

After cooking:

What to do in the event of a grease/oil fire

Extinguish a grease/oil fire by following these steps:

  1. Smother flames by completely covering the pan or deep fryer with a large metal lid, cooking sheet, or flat tray.
  2. Turn off the stovetop or deep fryer.

Do

  • Immediately soothe any minor burns under cool water. Seek medical attention if your skin is blistered, charred or white.
  • "Stop, drop, and roll" if your clothes catch fire.

Do not

  • Don't use water to extinguish an oil/grease fire. Water will make the fire spread.
  • Don't try to pick up the pan. The flames could spread faster and burn you.

Report an incident

Incidents involving consumer products such as deep fryers and stovetops should be reported to Health Canada.

Report an incident involving a consumer product.

You should also report electrical incidents directly to your local provincial or territorial authority.

Provincial/territorial authorities
Province Website Phone Number
Alberta Alberta Municipal Affairs 780-427-2732
British Columbia BC Safety Authority 1-866-566-7233
Manitoba Manitoba Hydro 1-888-624-9376
New Brunswick Department of Public Safety 506-453-3992
Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Government Services 709-729-4834
Northwest Territories Public Works and Services 867-873-7500
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education 902-424-8018
Nunavut Community and Government Services 867-975-5400
Ontario Electrical Safety Authority 1-877-372-7233
Prince Edward Island Government of Prince Edward Island 902-368-4000
Quebec Régie du bâtiment du Québec 1-800-361-0761
Saskatchewan Saskpower Electrical Inspections Branch 1-877-225-2224
Yukon Department of Community Services 867-667-5315
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