Kingswood residents urged to take steps to protect their homes from fire during National Cooking Safety Month

Cooking safetyFirefighters from Kingswood Fire Station are urging people to take care when cooking, following an increase in kitchen fires in the area.

Between April and December 2011 Avon Fire & Rescue Service attended 28 house fires in the Kingswood area. Of these, 22 were cooking related. That compares to five in 2010.

Homes in the Rodway, Siston, Hanham, Downend, Kings Chase, Staple Hill and Parkwall areas have seen fires where hot oils and fats have been involved, cooking has been left unattended or a chip pan has caught light.

During February, which is National Cooking Safety Month, firefighters are issuing advice to people in Kingswood on how to prevent fire in their homes.

Kingswood Fire Station Manager, Rob Leppier, said: “More than half of all the fires we attend start in the kitchen and with this recent increase in cooking-related fires we want to remind people of some simple steps they can take to prevent fire in their homes.

“One of the best things you can do to protect your home and family is to ensure you have a working smoke alarm fitted. Smoke alarms provide an early warning sign that a fire has broken out, giving the occupants vital minutes to escape and dial 999 – but only if they are working properly. Just two or three breaths of toxic smoke is enough to render a person unconscious so the quicker you leave the premises the better.”

Cooking safety advice:

  • Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil.
  • Never leave the pan or grill unattended when the heat is switched on.
  • Never put food in a pan if the oil begins to smoke. Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool, otherwise it could catch fire
  • Try to avoid using a chip pan altogether. Deep fat fryers are a much safer alternative as they are thermostatically controlled.
  • Never wear loose clothing near to cooking materials, as it could catch fire causing severe burns, or it could get caught on something and pull it over.
  • Keep tea towels well away from cooking appliances, as they could catch fire.
  • Clean hobs regularly to prevent a build up of fat which can catch fire.
  • Drinking alcohol and cooking is a mix that can end in disaster.

If a pan does catch fire:

  • Do not move it – it could cause burns which last a lifetime.
  • Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so but never lean over the pan to reach the cooker controls.
  • Never throw water on it, this will only make it worse.
  • Get out, stay out and call 999. If possible close the kitchen door on your way out. Then call the fire service, who are the professionals and have protective clothing and equipment to tackle the fire safely.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service will visit the homes of the most vulnerable members of the community to discuss fire safety measures. To find out if you qualify for a free Home Fire Safety Visit, call 0117 926 2061.