Kitchen safety and cooking

Cooking is not only the leading cause of Olathe home fires, but it is the leading cause of fires in the United States. It is also the leading cause of fire injuries. Help make your home safer when cooking by remembering:

  • An adult should always stay in the kitchen when cooking!
  • Keep young children out of the kitchen.
  • Keep anything that can burn like towels, curtains, paper, etc. away from the stove and other heating appliances including toasters and coffeemakers. 
  • Wear tight clothing or short sleeves-loose clothing can catch on fire.
  • Use back burners first and keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove so young children don't grab them and pull them down, spilling the hot contents on themselves.
  • Slide a lid on grease fires-never use water, salt, or baking powder to fight a grease fire. Baking soda or a fire extinguisher will also work, but a lid usually works best.
  • If a fire is bigger than a small trash can, get out and call 911 from a neighbor's home - don't try to fight the fire.
  • Keep appliance cords high up on the counter away from curious hands.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when you're not using them, and don't overload the electrical outlets.
  • Be careful of food cooked in a microwave - it can burn. Foods like filled pastries, sauces in jars, frozen dinners, popcorn, etc. can cause steam burns.
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.

Thanksgiving Day and home fires

Cooking fires in residential buildings occurred more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.  For each year from 2011 to 2013, an estimated 2,100 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day and caused an estimated 10 deaths, 50 injuries and $28 million in property loss, according to the United States Fire Administration.  Unattended cooking is cited as the culprit.

Another cause for home cooking concern is deep fried turkeys. Deep fried turkeys are a popular Thanksgiving treat; but, turkey fryers create serious safety concerns like:

  • Oil may spill onto the open burner and create a fire – some fryers have as much as 35 quarts of oil.
  • The fryer can easily tip over and spill hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby.
  • Some fryers have no automatic thermostat controls which means oil may heat to a high temperature until it catches fire.
  • The fryer’s sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and can cause severe burns.
  • View our Safer Olathe Series - Turkey Day the Safer Way video.

In an effort to help ensure a safe and happy Thanksgiving, remember these tips when cooking:

  • Make sure an adult always stays in the kitchen while cooking.
  • Keep children and pets out of the kitchen.
  • Keep anything that can burn like towels, paper towels, curtains, etc. away from the stovetop or other cooking appliances.
  • Leave turkey frying to the professionals .
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.


In the US, grill fires cause an estimated $37 million in property damage each year, according to the United States Fire Administration. And, nearly half of all injuries, involving grills, are thermal burns. By knowing just a few grill tips, you can help everyone have a safe summer. When grilling, remember to:

  • Always grill outdoors – never grill inside the home or garage.
  • Place grills on a flat and stable surface, such as a concrete patio, and away from things that can burn like your deck or home.
  • Keep kids and pets at least three-feet away from the grill.
  • Before using a propane grill, check the connection between the tank and the fuel line for leaks.
  • Keep an eye on your grill. Never leave a hot grill unattended.
  • After using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing them in a metal container. Never place coals in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.
More fire safety tips: United States Fire Administration.