Don’t cook yourself into trouble this Christmas

TAKE extra care when cooking this Christmas and New Year!

That’s the latest warning from Cleveland Fire Brigade as it continues its major ‘Stay Safe and Celebrate’ campaign to help keep people from harm over the holiday period.

Last December there were 35 cooking-related fires in people’s homes in Cleveland, including 12 involving chip pans or a build-up of fat and burnt food on cookers or in ovens, nine caused by leaving pans unattended and two in which a chip pan or other hot oil caught fire while the person cooking was affected by alcohol.

Over the last three years (2009-2011) as a whole, more than 50% of the accidental house fires inClevelandbegan in the kitchen – and almost half of those were caused by people leaving cooking unattended.

The Brigade is urging people to follow these import tips to stay out of trouble:

  • Don’t drink and fry – If you are drinking alcohol, order a takeaway or eat cold food rather than take the risk of cooking something yourself while your alertness is impaired
  • Stand by your pan – Take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill if you have to leave the kitchen while cooking
  • Keep your cooker and grill pan clean – Burnt food and fat causes fires
  • Chuck out your chip pan – Chip pan fires can and do kill

Les Jones, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Head of Community Safety, said: “Statistics show that the kitchen is the biggest fire risk in the home and we’re urging people to be especially careful over the festive season when it’s traditional to eat and drink a lot more.

“Above all, we are urging people never to leave cooking unattended however short the period and to avoid trying to cook when they have had a few drinks and are not so alert.

“They should also ditch their old-fashioned chip pan and replace it with a safer alternative such as a deep fat fryer as chip pans have been the cause of countless fires over the years.”

For more information about the ‘Stay Safe and Celebrate’ campaign, visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/celebrate and click on the different items in the interactive house feature to get detailed safety tips and advice as well as view safety videos.

To help keep you and your family safe from fire this festive season, call the Fire Brigade on 01429 874063 for a free Home Fire Safety Visit – the Brigade will fit smoke alarms for you if needed.