Montana Red Cross Wants You to Stay Safe while Cooking

Bozeman, MT, October 15, 2013 - The American Red Cross responds to thousands of fires in peoples’ homes every year and most of those fires occur while someone is cooking. The focus of this week’s fire prevention campaign is “Prevent Kitchen Fires” and the Red Cross is offering tips for staying safe in the kitchen.

“Montana Red Cross responded to 82 home fires around the state last year. We see firsthand the destruction a cooking fire can cause,” said Rod Kopp, CEO of Montana Red Cross. “Yet most of these fires can be prevented. We urge everyone to follow our safety tips when they are preparing meals at home.”


The cook should not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. They should also stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If they must leave the kitchen, for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.

Other ways to avoid cooking fires include:

  • Fires can start when the heat is too high. When frying food, if the cook sees smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
  • Turn pot handles to the back of the stove so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
  • Move things that can burn away from the stove – items such as dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains.
  • Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire.

    If the pan catches fire, don’t move it. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to take the air away and put the fire out. Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on the pan until it cools. Never try to stop a grease or oil fire with water – it will only make the fire bigger.


    If something catches fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so firefighters can make sure the fire didn’t spread to the walls. If a fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave if you can. Don’t use it until a repairman checks it.


    If a fire occurs and someone’s clothes are on fire, they should stop where they are immediately, drop to the floor, cover their face with their hands and roll over and over to suffocate the flames. Keep doing it until the fire is out.


    Leave the home and call the fire department from outside. Make sure everyone in the home gets out – fast. Once outside, stay out. Never go back inside a burning building.

    You can help people affected by home fires, as well as countless other disasters at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-ARC-MONT (1-800-272-6668). Contributions may also be sent to American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @MontanaRedCross.