Defense Against Burns & Fires
Resources > Tips > Defense Against Burns & Fires

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Prevention is better than treatment. Not getting burnt in the first place means there is no need for First Aid for Burns.

When working around heat we use the following practices in the Smart Kitchen. The list is not exhaustive and your best defense against burns and fires is your focused attention. Ultimately, you should pay attention be cause the responsibility is yours.

  • Use Oven Mitts for reaching into the oven or for removing pots or pans from the stove. Mitts are a better choice than a Pot Holder because if you need immediate, extra leverage (when something is slipping for example) your whole hand can be used and protected. The backs of the hand won't enjoy 500° convection heat any more than the palms of the hand will.  Never Use Wet Oven Mitts. They can cause scalding. Replace your oven mitts when they are too old or wear out.
  • Stand Back From a Hot Pan. The grease and liquids can spatter.
  • Remember to protect your hands, when you remove a lid. Steam can burn too. You may want to protect your arms as well. A chef’s jacket always has long sleeves.
  • Never Touch the Stovetop with Your Bare Hand(s). The burners could still be hot.
  • Be Very Careful Draining Hot Liquids. Hot splattering liquids can burn you too. 
  • Don’t Mix Hot Liquids in a Blender. Even with the lid on, the contents could explode out of the vessel.
  • Keep Pot Handles Turned Inward. If handles jut into the room, or a pathway, they can be bumped and send your very hot dish on a dangerous trajectory. In a similar manner use the back burner when possible. In most homes (besides those with center island ranges) it is likely to be further from traffic.
  • Don’t Wear Hanging, Loose or Flammable Clothing When Cooking. Anything that contacts your heat source can catch on fire. Be aware of what you wear. If you catch on fire, stop drop & roll. Stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire.

Cooking can and does cause fires. Cooking equipment, most often a range or stove top, is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Cooking equipment is also the leading cause of unreported fires and associated injuries. Again, you are responsible but the following tips are common sense and good to remember:

  • Pay Attention Around Heat. If something goes wrong or a kitchen fire starts, while you are out of the room, you can’t put it out. You can’t call 911.  


All of the above are tips that can help keep you, your family and home safer. But if there were a fire would you know How & When to Fight a Cooking Fire? First, if you are at all in doubt, get out. If you want to learn more follow the link above. 

 What about Nuisance Smoke Alarms?

 Fire & Burn information is provided courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration.