Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Distraction is a killer in the kitchen

With more fires breaking out in the kitchen than any other room Essex County Fire and Rescue is urging people to make sure they pay attention while cooking.

Distraction in the kitchen is a deadly danger and it only takes a moment's inattention to turn you from cook to killer. More than half the house fires in Essex start in the kitchen and one in three domestic blazes are sparked by someone cooking.

Modern life is full of distractions with busy family lives, television, smart phones, tablets and computers all vying for our attention. But it's vital that once you start cooking your mind doesn't wander and you stay on task. All it takes is a careless moment for pan on the hob to turn into a life threatening blaze.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “The kitchen is a major flashpoint for fires. More house fires start in the kitchen than any other room so we are urging everyone to make sure that they take care when they're cooking.

"We know that its an everyday activity but it is still not something people should be blasé about and requires your full attention.

“Just a moment’s distraction could lead to a fire which turns you into the killer in your kitchen.”

To make sure you stay as safe as possible in the kitchen:
•Avoid leaving cooking unattended and never leave children in the kitchen alone.
•Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – they can easily catch fire.
•Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
•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.
•Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily. If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. Ideally cook oven chips but if you are deep fat frying then use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer - they can’t overheat.
•Never try to cook after a night out drinking. It is far better to grab a kebab on the way home than to attempt to cook while intoxicated.

The best way to stay safe in the home is to fit and regularly test smoke alarms. If you would like to arrange for a free home fire safety visit, during which smoke alarms will be fitted free of charge, then call us on 0300 303 0088 or email


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