22 December 2015

With festive meals being prepared and the potential for alcohol to play its part, the risk of fires in the kitchen can be high, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have warned.

Fire officers would like to remind people to take extra care when cooking, to avoid the preparation of a festive meal leading to a kitchen blaze.

Within the last year (2014-2015), 168 fires in Northamptonshire were related to cooking. Of these, 24 were linked to the use of a chip pan or deep fat fryer.

Figures showed that 88 cases were related to the use of a cooker (including oven), 24 involved a grill or toaster and 17 involved the use of a microwave.

To avoid potential fires, there are safety precautions that can be taken.

Cooking safety tips

  • Do not leave children in the kitchen alone when you are cooking something on the hob. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach
  • Do not leave cooking unattended
  • Take care if you are wearing loose clothing as this can catch fire
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
  • Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they don’t have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains, kitchen rolls and from under cupboards
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire
  • Do not put anything metal in a microwave
  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily
  • Take care if cooking with alcohol, as this is a flammable liquid
  • If oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
  • If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it’s safe to do so. Never throw water over it
  • In an emergency, get out, stay out and call 999

Area Manager Mark Ainge, who leads the joint Prevention and Community Protection Department for Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is so easy to cause an accidental fire when cooking, particularly if alcohol and all the distractions of Christmas are added factors.

“I would encourage people to remember the potential dangers that cooking can have. People should never leave cooking unattended, they should make sure they have a working smoke alarm and they should ensure that everyone in their household knows the escape plan should a fire break out. We want people to have a peaceful and happy Christmas. By taking a few simple precautions, they can make sure it is a safe one.”