Fire bosses urging people to look while they cook

Fire bosses in Staffordshire and Cheshire are urging people to take care in the kitchen when preparing pancakes and Valentines treats this week.

There were 265 fires which started in the kitchen in Staffordshire in the last year, while there were 165 incidents that were attributed to cooking in Cheshire last year.

Today will see households around preparing pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, while on February 14 it’s anticipated many couples will choose to stay in for a romantic home cooked meal for Valentine’s Day.

February 16 is Chinese New Year, which will see families coming together to celebrate with home cooked feasts.

With children across the two counties on half term this week, youngsters may be spending more time in the kitchen.

Paul Shaw, of Central Prevent and Protect at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, said: “This week is unusual as there are so many celebrations very close together – we want people to enjoy themselves but remember to be safe while doing so.

“Whether you’re cooking pancakes with the kids, or preparing a feast for Chinese New Year, make sure you Look While You Cook! It can be easy to get distracted when having a family get together but it’s really important that you don’t leave your cooking unattended.

“If you’re staying in for a romantic meal with the one you love this Wednesday, make sure your attempts at reigniting that spark don’t result in flames! And if you’re enjoying a bottle of wine, don’t start drinking until the dinner is safely cooked.”

How to cook safely:

  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Make sure saucepan handles don't stick out - so they don't get knocked off the stove.
  • Take care if you're wearing loose clothing - they can easily catch fire.
  • Keep items like tea towels and plastic containers off the hob, as they could catch light if it is accidentally switched on.
  • Double check the cooker is off when you've finished cooking.
  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • If the oil in a pan starts to smoke - it's too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Do not use a chip pan, use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer instead.
  • Avoid cooking if you have been drinking alcohol
  • Do not use matches or lighters to light gas cookers. Spark devices are safer.

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