More fires and fire injuries are caused in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home. Taking a few simple measures can make all the difference. • Avoid leaving cooking unattended. • Don’t cook if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that might make you drowsy. • Take care not to lean over hot hobs and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob. • Be careful to keep the oven, hob, cooker hood and grill clean to avoid a buildup of fat and grease, which could ignite and cause a fire. • Use spark devices to light gas cookers - they are much safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame. • Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking. • Check toasters are clean and placed away from anything that can catch fire. • Never put anything metal in the microwave. • Never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony - burning or smouldering fuel can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. • Supervise children and pets in the kitchen at all times and keep matches and saucepan handles out of reach. • Don’t tackle the fire yourself and don’t attempt to move the pan. • Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball. • Turn off the heat, if it is safe to do so. • Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call 911. • Take care when cooking with hot oil - it can easily overheat and catch fire. • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil. • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil. • If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. • Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible - they have built-in thermostats to control the temperature. Candles, incense and oil burners are one of the biggest causes of fire within homes. Always keep an eye on these items to keep you and your home safe. • Always use a heat resistant holder on a stable surface, which won’t be knocked over. • Tea lights can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath • Keep these items away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture, clothes and hair. • Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed. • Keep out of reach of children and pets. Many electrical fires can be avoided by following some simple actions: • Don’t use imitation electrical chargers as they may be unsafe. • Make sure electrical appliances have a recognised safety mark when you buy them • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order. • Unplugging appliances and chargers when you are not using them or when you go to bed helps reduce the risk of fire • Hair straighteners can get extremely hot. Always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface. • For plugs that do not come fitted to the appliance, always check you’re using the right fuse. • Keep to one plug per socket. • If you use an adaptor, use a fused ‘in line’ type. The adaptor or extension lead will have a limit of how much power it can safely provide so be careful not to overload sockets. • If using a cable drum extension lead, it should be completely unwound to avoid overheating. • Remember: scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons could be signs of loose or dangerous wiring. How to prevent smoking related fires: • Never smoke in bed. • Don’t smoke in a soft chair or sofa if you think you may fall asleep. • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking alcohol. • Use a proper ashtray that can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn. • Make sure you have enough ashtrays to avoid any overflow. • Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar, or pipe lying around. • Stub cigarettes out properly and always dispose of them carefully. • Make sure smoking materials are cold before emptying ashtrays - preferably wet them before throwing them into a bin, • Only smoke legally manufactured cigarettes. • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach and always buy child resistant lighters. • Never smoke if you use medical oxygen, or an air flow pressure relief mattress. • If you use paraffin-based emollient creams, ask for nonflammable alternatives. • Consider additional specialist equipment such as fire retardant bedding or nightwear.
In the event of a fire, keep your cool and don’t panic.