Kitchens probably do not see more action at any other time of year than Christmas, but they are in use every day. The more we use something the more familiar we are and the less attention we tend to pay. At Christmas the kitchen is not only getting used more but there are more distractions with recipe books, visiting friends and family, over-excitable kids to name but a few. There were four accidents in kitchens over Christmas in and around Bedford which has sparked a warning from Bedfordshire Fire And Rescue. They were all small fires but they could have been a lot worse if they had got out of control. We are happy to report that there was no loss of life either.
Over half of house fires start in the kitchen. There are plug sockets, water and food stuffs, there is electrical equipment, there are heat sources and even naked flames. Even though it is familiar territory navigated every single day, there are many hazards around and so we can all be more vigilant, pay a little more attention and be better at guarding against injury and upset for our family.
Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue’s safety tips to remove or reduce the chance of accidental fire in your kitchen are as follows:
- If you have to leave the kitchen, turn pans on the hob down or take them off until you are back.
- If a pan catches fire in your kitchen do not take unnecessary risk, get everyone out and call 999.
- Get in the habit of checking the hob is off when you finish cooking.
- Keep tea towels, kitchen rolls, cook books and cloths away from the hobs – they are all fuel for a fire.
- Do not wear loose flowing clothing while cooking in case it catches fire.
- Avoid leaving children unsupervised in the kitchen while cooking and keep matches, lighters and saucepan handles out of reach.
- Visually inspect electrical equipment and cabling before use. Keep them away from water, curtain, tea towels, cook books etc when in use.
- Visually inspect your oven and equipment for a build up of fat and grease. Keep it clean. Grease can catch fire.
- Don’t drink and cook.
- Be extra careful of hot oil – it can burn. Be extra extra careful if you insist on using a deep fat fryer – do not leave it unattended for even a second and ensure you have a fire blanket to hand.
- Never throw water on a hot fat fire – it will make it worse.
- Always teach your family an escape plan that they can follow without question if a fire occurs.
- Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly. Testing only takes a second.
Overall please pay attention and do not let familiarity blind you to the potential dangers around you. We do not aim to inspire fear because if you are paying attention then there is nothing to fear.
Happy cooking! And happier eating. Enjoy the year from us at Fire & Electrical Safety Ltd.