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Why not use cooking lessons as a chance to pass on fire safety knowhow

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During lockdown, many children across Herefordshire and Worcestershire 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 of a hot hob – in the period from 1 Jan 2011 and 31 Dec 2020 in the two counties, 2,465 fires started in the kitchen. So as part of the Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and rescue Service is encouraging parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for kids to learn about cooking safety.

Community Risk manager Emma Roberts said: “There are lots of creative ways to teach kids about cooking fire safety. And, it’s absolutely 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, and 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 – distraction while cooking is a main cause of fire call-outs right across the country.

Emma Roberts continued: “Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like phone calls or family. So, whatever happens elsewhere in your home, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.”

Fire Kills’ top tips for staying safe in the kitchen 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 - keep leads and appliances away from water and place grills and toasters 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.

· Make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly.