Swindon residents are being reminded to take care when cooking, after more than half of all accidental fires in the town last year started in the kitchen.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service attended 130 accidental fires in the home during 2016-17 – and 66 of these were directly attributed to cooking.
Group Manager Glyn Moody, Deputy Area Commander for Swindon, said: “In the majority of cases, these fires were down to the occupier being distracted – for example, by other family members or answering the telephone – or having consumed alcohol. Fortunately, there were working smoke alarms in all but ten of the homes, which gave early warning of the fires.”
He added: “We carried out Safe & Well visits at those ten properties following the incidents, which included fitting smoke alarms and advising the occupants on how best to prevent further fires in the future.”
Amongst the top tips for kitchen safety are:
- Keep the oven, hob and grill clean as a build-up of fat or grease can catch fire when hot.
- Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob, and take care if you’re wearing loose clothing.
- Make sure children are never left alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking.
- Saucepan handles left sticking out create a danger – there’s a risk they could be caught, leading to the pans being knocked off the hob.
- Use spark devices to light gas cookers as they are safer than matches and lighters.
- Wherever possible, never leave cooking unattended. If you do have to leave, set a timer – on the cooker or through your phone or watch – so that you don’t lose track of time.
- Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
- Rather than use a chip pan, use a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer, which can’t overheat.
- Avoid cooking if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that leaves you drowsy.
- If you’re going to the pub and think you’ll want something to eat afterwards, get a takeaway!
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them weekly. If you do have a fire, get out, stay out, and call 999.
To request a free Safe & Well visit, or to find out more information about being safe at home, visitwww.dwfire.org.uk