Fire Chiefs concern after rise in accidental house fires

Your Kitchen Can KillFire Chiefs are urging residents to take more care when cooking after latest figures show a 33% rise in accidental house fires.

Since 1 April there has been 65 accidental house fires compared with 44 from the same period in 2013, with 43% of them starting in the kitchen. The main culprits being pans left unattended and grills and cooker fat not being cleaned.

With the summer holidays in full swing, many parents will be spending more time in the kitchen, potentially with children around so it is essential for extra precautions to be taken to keep the whole family safer from fire.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade said, “It is the first time in several years that the number of fires in the home have started to rise and I am concerned.

“By leaving pans on the hob unattended and not cleaning your grill pans, people are putting themselves and their families at serious risk.

“Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen – often because of distractions like phone calls, family or people calling at the door. So whatever happens elsewhere in the house, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.

“With the children being off school, why not use this time to teach them about cooking fire safety this summer? Ensure they know what to do should a fire break out and get them to help test the smoke alarms.

Our other top tips to help keep you safe are:

  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999.
  • Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking.  Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Take care with electrics –leads and appliances away from water and place grills and away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
  • Keep your equipment clean and in good working order.  A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.
  • Hot oil can catch fire easily – be careful that it doesn’t overheat.
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly.