Cooking Appliance Use in CoE Buildings

False fire alarms are often caused by burnt food, instead of a real fire. These alarms lead to an evacuation of the COE building and usually end with the crowd, including students, staff, faculty, and visitors, herded back into the building within minutes. These alarms may just seem inconvenient, but they have a much larger impact, including interruptions to classes, experiments, exams, and meetings that result in difficult to calculate losses.

Cooking appliances are found in common spaces throughout the College of Engineering campus. These appliances possess an inherent fire risk, which can be mitigated when operated properly.

COE Cooking Appliances Safety Poster

Below are reminders for the safe operation of a microwave or toaster/toaster oven on the CoE campus.


  • Never leave a microwave or any other appliance unattended while using.
  • Do not place any objects containing metal into a microwave (i.e. storage containers, silverware, dishes, etc.). This will cause sparking and potentially a fire.
  • Only set the microwave for the minimum time required to heat the food.
  • Be careful when removing liquids from the microwave, contents may be scalding, or when opening any container that may release steam.
  • If a fire occurs in the microwave, unplug it if safe to do so and leave the door shut. Evacuate and call 911.

Toaster/Toaster Ovens

  • Never leave a toaster or any other appliance unattended while using.
  • Unplug the toaster when not in-use.
  • Do not stick anything into the toaster, especially when plugged in.
  • Be careful when removing food from the toaster as the metal around the opening becomes hot during use. Let the food cool for a minute or so before removing to prevent burns.
  • Only toast items that are meant to be toasted.
  • Do not use if the cord is frayed or damaged.
  • Empty and clean the crumb tray daily to prevent buildup of combustibles.