Fire and rescue services across Wales are urging the public to take extra care whilst continuing to spend more time cooking at home as many restaurants, cafes and pubs remain closed for the time being.
Many of us have adapted during the lockdown restrictions either working from home or home-schooling, and with an increase in multitasking there is an increased risk of a kitchen fire - just one distraction is all it takes to create a recipe for disaster.
The message from firefighters therefore is that all residents continue to have a part to play in reducing demand on services, as fire and rescue services launch the #Just1 campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of kitchen fires.
Across Wales generally, over 40% of all fires in the home start in the kitchen – showing just how easy preparing a meal can turn to disaster.
But during the recent lockdown crisis, that figure has risen even higher as people have been spending more time than usual cooking in the kitchen.
To help prevent a fire within your home, we're urging people to please stay alert and avoid leaving the room while cooking. If you do leave the room, please turn the stove off and keep the stove top area clear.
Paul Scott, Senior Fire Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, explains:
“With everyone confined to their homes during, many of us have been getting creative with how we pass the time and that has included comforting ourselves by cooking more, sharing recipes and posting photos of creations on social media.
“This is a great way of keep in touch with family and friends – but we have noticed an increase in kitchen fires as a result.
“Unfortunately, we are all too aware that just one distraction whilst cooking really could spell disaster - it sounds obvious but getting distracted is one of the main causes of a kitchen fire, whether it’s a distraction from our children or simply using a mobile phone or tablet.
“It’s startling that 40% of all the fires we attend tend to start in the kitchen - but even more startling to think that most of these could be prevented by taking some very simple precautions.
“This means reducing the chances of you or your family getting hurt, or of you having to foot the bill for a completely new kitchen.”
The fire and rescue services analysed cooking fires across Wales. Out of those looked at, the large majority occurred in the kitchen and being distracted was the biggest human factor responsible, with falling asleep being a close second. This meant food left cooking – resulting in a smoke logged kitchen, damaged equipment or in the worst cases, serious damage, injury or harm.
Other causes involved material left on the hob or too near the cooker, dirty ovens or overheated chip pans.
Firefighters are therefore highlighting these key safety tips as part of the #Just1 campaign:
- Never turn your back on your cooking
- Keep your oven clean and don’t leave items nearby that could catch fire
- Test your smoke alarms regularly
- In the event of a fire in your kitchen, get out, stay out and call 999.
More information is available here.
As part of the campaign, a cooking safety competition has been launched by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service with a total of £150 of Amazon vouchers up for grabs. It only takes a few minutes to take part – follow #Just1 to find out more.
Paul added: “The biggest favour you as members of the public can do for us as firefighters right now is to take extra care, so that you reduce the demand on our services.
“From experience, we know that when people spend more time at home the risk of fire can increase.
“So, I’m urging everyone to take extra care to help us to prevent incidents from happening in the first place.
“We all have a part to play during the coronavirus crisis.”