Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Cooking

More than half of accidental fires at home are started by cooking - follow our cooking safety advice to stay safe in your kitchen.

  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob.  Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out – so they don’t get knocked off the stove.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.

Take care with electrics

  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order.  A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.

Deep fat frying

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily.
  • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn’t splash.
  • If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot.  Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer.  They can’t overheat.
  • If your pan catches fire, turn off the heat if it is safe to do so.  Never throw water over it.

Outdoor cooking

  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue or any cooking!
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on coal.
  • Never leave a barbecue or any cooking unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins.  If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire.
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