Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is reminding people to take care when cooking, after a spate of kitchen fires across the county.
In the last month, the Service has been called to 17 fires involving cooking or items left on top of a hot hob. Fortunately, the majority of these incidents were minor and didn’t require firefighter intervention.
However, it has highlighted the importance of staying safe while in the kitchen. Home safety manager Neil Chamberlain said: “National figures show that more than half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen, and it is very worrying to have had so many of these incidents locally.”
He added: “When we look at the fires we’ve had in Wiltshire, there are definite patterns – items such as tea towels or boxes being placed on or next to the hot hob, pans left unattended, fat on grill pans catching alight, or hot oil from chip pans splashing onto the cooker top and igniting. Happily, most of these fires weren’t too serious, but all could have been easily avoided with a little care.”
Advice for cooking safely includes:
- Keep the oven, hob and grill clean as a build-up of fat or grease can catch fire when hot.
- Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob, and take care if you’re wearing loose clothing.
- Make sure children are never left alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking.
- Saucepan handles left sticking out create a danger – there’s a risk they could be caught, leading to the pans being knocked off the hob.
- Use spark devices to light gas cookers as they are safer than matches and lighters.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
- Avoid cooking if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that leaves you drowsy.
- Rather than use a chip pan, use a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer as this can’t overheat.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them weekly. Carbon monoxide alarms can also save lives, so make sure you have one fitted.
- If you do have a fire, get out, stay out, and call 999.
A full range of safety advice for when you’re cooking can be found at www.wiltsfire.gov.uk/kitchensafety
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service offers free home fire safety advice to householders – to see if you qualify for a visit, call 0800 389 7849 or visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk