Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Safety first for summer cooking

With the summer holidays fast approaching, many children across Essex will be spending more time in the kitchen.

But whether they’re lending a hand or simply seeking a snack, it’s important to make sure that they know the hazards in your kitchen.

So as part of the Fire Kills campaign, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is asking parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for kids to learn this summer.

Station Manager Russell Freeman said:

From bake-offs to barbecues, there are lots of creative ways to teach kids about cooking fire safety this summer. And it’s vital that they know what to do if the worst should happen.

“So alongside the melting, mixing and making, why not take the chance to pass on your fire safety knowhow. Test your smoke alarms as part of the activity and remember, never leave a child alone with a hot hob. Also, help keep them safe by moving matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.”

And the kids don’t have to be in the kitchen to change the way you work in the summer – a distraction while cooking is a main cause of kitchen fires right across the country.  

Russell continued: “Over 75% of all accidental house fires in Essex start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like phone calls or family. So whatever happens elsewhere in the house, always make sure you don't leave your cooking unattended."

Top tips for staying safe in the kitchen this summer are:

  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999.
  • Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking.  Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Take care with electrics - leads and appliances away from water and place grills and away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
  • Keep your equipment clean and in good working order.  A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.
  • Hot oil can catch fire easily - be careful that it doesn’t overheat.
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Get at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly.

Last updated: 1 July 2019

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