Put safety first when cooking up summer feasts

Cooking iStock 939102934 web2

Many children across Herefordshire and Worcestershire will now be spending more time in the kitchen with the summer holidays here.

But, whether they are lending a hand or simply hunting for a snack, it’s important to make sure they know the hazards of a hot hob.

So, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is asking parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for children to learn about cooking safety this summer.

In the 10-year period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2022 in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, 2,036 fires started in the kitchen and there were sadly three fatalities.

There were 14 incidents where the victim went to hospital with serious injuries and 104 with slight injuries, 131 where first aid was given at the scene and 70 where a precautionary check was recommended.

The most likely sources of ignition were the cooker/oven with 1,106 fires, the grill/toaster with 233 and the ring/hot plate on a separate appliance with 194.

Worcester station area had the most incidents with 417 (18.01 per cent) followed by Redditch with 301 (13 per cent) and Hereford with 262 (11.31 per cent).

HWFRS Head of Prevention Emma Roberts 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, as well as melting, mixing and baking, why not take the opportunity to remember your home fire safety?

“Test your smoke alarms as part of the activity – make it part of your routine, like washing your hands.

“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 it’s not just the kids who could spark risks – a simple distraction such as a phone call or answering the door while cooking are major causes of fire call-outs right across the country.

“Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen so, whatever else is happening in the house, please stay focused and always keep one eye on the hob or oven.”

The Fire Kills campaign’s top tips for staying safe in the kitchen this summer are:

  • If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, take pans off the heat or turn off
  • 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
  • Loose clothing can easily catch fire when cooking, especially near naked flames
  • Don’t leave 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 are the main culprits in kitchen fires
  • Don’t cook after drinking alcohol
  • Hot oil catches fire easily. Change oil regularly, dirty oil overheats at lower temperature, never fill a pan above one third and never throw water on a chip pan fire
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape plan
  • Get at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them weekly

Anyone who thinks they might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety Visit can call the HWFRS Prevention team on 0800 032 1155.

People can complete a free online Home Fire Safety Check at www.safelincs.co.uk/hfsc/.