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Cooking safety starts with you!

October 8-14, 2023 is National Fire Prevention Week and week two of Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Month! This week’s focus is cooking safety and how to prevent fires and keep your entire household safe in the kitchen.

Home fires are a serious risk that can occur without warning and cooking fires are the leading cause of residential fires nationally. In Seattle, cooking-related fires have significantly increased year over year. In 2022, the Seattle Fire Department responded to 555 cooking-related residential fire incidents. This is a 158% increase in cooking fire incidents from 2017 (215) to 2022 (555). The Seattle Fire Department encourages the community to take actions to stay safe in the kitchen every day.

It is not uncommon for individuals to become distracted while cooking and forget about the food on the stove or in the oven. In fact, it only takes a few seconds for a fire to start. It is easy to get distracted by a person, a phone call or an electronic device. This is why it is important to always stay attentive while cooking, and to never leave food unattended on the stove.

Watch Seattle Fire Department’s multilingual cooking safety video here:

Cooking Safely with Children:

  • Maintain a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet (one meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Teach children the importance of fire safety and injury prevention early – positive message repetition works!
  • Model good behaviors and habits in the kitchen.
  • Play safety activities with children at home:

Steps to Stay Safe in the Kitchen:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are sleepy, distracted or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stovetop.
  • Stay alert! Keep a close eye on what you cook and use a timer.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire – paper towels, utensils, cooking oil, and anything that can burn easily — away from your stovetop.

Attention Property Managers:

If you are an apartment or condo property manager and would like a free cooking safety poster for your building, please email

Additional Fire Safety Information