Safer Cooking: Frying

Frying typically combines heat or flame, a combustible substance like grease or oil, and a shallow, open pan. Is it any wonder that frying is the method that causes the most cooking fires? Here are some tips for safer frying:

  • Stay in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if you must answer the phone or leave the kitchen, even for ‘just a second.’
  • Always have a lid and a dry oven mitt nearby.
  • To smother a small grease fire, use the mitt to slide the lid over the pan. Turn off the stove. Leave the pan covered until it’s completely cool to keep the fire from restarting.
  • Never try to put out a grease fire with water, which can make it spread.
  • If you can’t quickly smother the fire with a lid, get out. Call 9-1-1 after you leave.

To help prevent grease fires, keep your stovetop clean of grease and periodically clean grease from the vents and exhaust hood, so it cannot be ignited by heat.

See the NFPA recommendations for turkey fryers.

7 Simple Steps for Fire Safety

Prevent Fire

  1. Don’t smoke in bed or when sleepy. Smoking materials are the cause of 24% of home fire fatalities.
  2. Turn off portable space heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep. Heating equipment is the source of an additional 24% of home fire fatalities.
  3. Turn off the stove if you have to answer the phone or leave the room. Cooking equipment is the source of 15% of home fire fatalities, and by far the leading cause of home fire injuries.
  4. Put away matches or lighters in a high cabinet or locked drawer, out of sight and reach of children. Children under age 5 are eight times more likely to die in a fire caused by playing with a heat source than are older children and adults.

Be Prepared If a Fire Occurs

  1. Install a smoke alarm. One working smoke alarm on each floor is better, and one working smoke alarm inside every sleeping area is best. The National Fire Protection Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommend installing both ionization and photoelectric alarms, or dual alarms that incorporate both technologies. Ionization smoke alarms respond best to flaming fires, and photoelectric to smoldering fires.
  2. Press the test button on your smoke alarm to make sure it’s still working, even if it’s hard-wired or has long-life batteries;
  3. Plan and practice a home fire drill. Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do when the alarm sounds:
  • Get out right away.
  • Go directly to your meeting place. Choose a meeting place in front of your home or where firefighters can see you.
  • Don’t go back inside for anything.
  • Call 9-1-1. Provide your address with the complete and precise street name (e.g. is it Sunset Street, Sunset Circle, Sunset Boulevard?) and the nearest cross street.

For step-by-step help in planning your escape, visit

White Paper: Beyond Compliance

Fire Drills and Fire Safety Training that Motivate Staff and the People they Serve

“Beyond Compliance” is a white paper written by Robert E. Cole, Holly Brown, Robert Crandall, and Carolyn Kourofsky.

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