Make the most dangerous room in the house safer

102753 - Kitchen Safety Posters A4 - 1 PanYOUR KITCHEN CAN KILL is Cleveland Fire Brigade’s warning to residents as it launches into a month long campaign to raise awareness of the most dangerous room in the house – the kitchen – and how to prevent a fire occurring there.

In 2014 almost 50% of accidental house fires started in the kitchen, the main causes being cooking left unattended, chip pans and unclean grill pans. Throughout February fire crews and community education staff from the Brigade will be out in force driving home the devastation house fires can cause, many of which can be avoided. The campaign focuses on six key messages that could save someone’s life, if took on board.

These messages are:

  • Stand by your pan  – never leave cooking unattended – not event for a second
  • Clean your grill as fire can kill – always clean your grill after use.      Grime, burnt food and fat cause fires.
  • Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life
  • Don’t drink and fry  – fires start when you fall asleep whilst cooking food
  • Maintain Electrical Kitchen appliances – a few simple checks can make all the difference to the safety of your home
  • Don’t hang materials near heaters or cookers – it can easily catch fire

On Thursday 5 February, pupils, teachers and parents from St Bede’s Catholic Academy in Stockton will be able to see what a fire in their kitchen would look like and how quickly it can get out of hand by seeing a chip pan demonstration in the school yard. Pupils will also be getting a talk on fire safety and will be meeting their local firefighters.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection said, “We attended 181 accidental house fires last year, which sadly could have been avoided. Having a fire in your home is one of those things that you think will never happen to you. Unfortunately, those 181 household’s last year know that is not the case.

“By taking the risk of fire seriously and following some simple precautions, such as keeping your cooker and grill pan clean and not leaving cooking unattended, you can drastically reduce the risk of a fire in your home. The simple fact is if you don’t, you could risk losing your home, personal belongings or much, much worse.

“Lynn Ford, who is a volunteer and trustee for the Cleveland Fire Support Network who provides fantastic support to the Brigade, knows the tragedy a kitchen fire can bring too well. She lost not only her home but also her 22 year old son Andrew in a fire that started in a chip pan 10 years ago this year. Lynn has worked tirelessly to ensure no one goes through the same thing as her and has been volunteering for Cleveland Fire Support Network following Andrew’s death, raising money and sharing her experiences to educate people in staying safe.

“We are extremely proud that for all her hard work, last week Lynn was named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron, an award that recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. The recognition that Lynn has received serves as a timely reminder as we launch into this month of activities”

Lynn spoke about the loss of Andrew and how she wants people to take heed of the safety messages saying, “It is still very hard to come to terms with the loss of a child and I have down days when I miss him so much, but if something good and positive can be learnt from what happened to Andrew then his life was not in vain. I don’t want anyone to go through what I have gone through for the past 10 years. Please take note of the safety messages; they really could save someone’s life.”