Spotlight on cooking safety after recent kitchen fires in Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 63 kitchen fires between April 1 and July 1, 2017.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 63 kitchen fires between April 1 and July 1, 2017.

Kitchen fires became a more frequent occurrence in the county, figures have shown, prompting Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) to remind homeowners to cook with care.

Between April 1 and July 1, 2017, NFRS attended 63 kitchen fires, a rate which if continued would top the 2016/17 total of 219 kitchen fires.

Of the kitchen fires so far this year, 28 were cooking related. A further eight involved chip pans and deep fat fryers, six were caused by items being left too close to a heat source, and three happened as a result of someone falling asleep or unconscious while cooking.

Tina Collett, of NFRS’s prevention and community protection department, said: “The prospect of a rise in the number of kitchen fires is worrying. We’ve been called to a number of incidents recently which could very easily have been much worse, but equally could have easily been avoided.

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

One kitchen fire attended by NFRS crews in early July saw five people taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. The cause was cooking which had been left unattended, and the property did not have smoke detectors fitted.

Lisa Bryan of NFRS’s home safety team said: “This fire could well have had a far more tragic outcome. As well as being terrifying for the people involved, this incident highlights the importance of fitting at least one smoke detector to every floor of your home, and testing it at least once a month.”

Stay safe in the kitchen with the following advice:

Avoid leaving the kitchen whilst cooking. If you must leave the room, 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 – keep leads and appliances away from water and place grills 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 it doesn’t overheat

Never throw water on a chip pan fire

In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place

Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly

More information on fire safety can be found here. You can request a home fire safety check here.