Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Don't let distraction turn your kitchen into a disaster zone

The kitchen can soon turn from the heart of the home to the scene of a terrible fire and all it takes is a moment’s distraction for cooking to become a potentially devastating blaze.

More fires start in the kitchen than any other room. More than half the house fires in Essex break out in the kitchen and one in three start with someone cooking.

Distraction is all it takes to turn you into a killer in the kitchen.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “When it comes to cooking it’s vital that you don’t let your attention wander.

“We know how easy it is to become distracted in the kitchen, busy family lives, phones, tablets, computers and television combine to make people lose their focus in the kitchen and that is when potentially deadly fires can start.

“Make sure that you do not let distraction turn 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.

 • If you have to leave the kitchen to answer the door or send a text, turn off the cooker.

 • Never leave children alone whilst cooking – what’s more important, your text or your child?

 • 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.

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