Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Kitchen safety hits the road

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has taken its kitchen fire safety message to the roads of Essex. The message appears on buses on some of the busiest routes in the County.

With nearly three quarters of house fires starting in the kitchen the Service is working hard to get the message out that it vital people take extra care in the kitchen and don’t get distracted when they’re cooking.

The warning appears on the back of five buses which are on routes which include roads where the Service knows there has been an issue with kitchen fires. The buses will be carrying the safety messages along routes in Basildon, Castle Point, Harlow, Southend, Thurrock, Harlow, Chelmsford and Tendring.

In the last three years fire crews in Essex have been called to more than 1,500 fires which started in kitchens. It is the most common cause of house fires in the County. The bus adverts are part of a larger campaign to promote kitchen fire safety.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Hill, Safer Communities, said: “Every month our crews attend dozens of fires which start with someone cooking, so anything we can do to make people think fire safety in the kitchen is a good thing.

“Kitchens are a major flashpoint for fires. More house fires start in the kitchen than any other room so we have launched this campaign to make people aware of just how important it is to stay safe in the 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 safety visit, during which smoke alarms will be fitted FREE of charge, call 0300 303 0088 or email

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