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Stay safe in the kitchen

Last year Derbyshire Firefighters attended over 200 accidental house fires that started in the kitchen, so this February we are asking everyone to take extra care, especially as there are more distractions in the home than normal.

Many children will be spending more time in the kitchen than usual; but, whether they’re lending a hand or simply seeking a snack, it’s important to make sure that they know the potential fire risks.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for children to learn about cooking safety.

Group Manager Kevin Page 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, also remember, never leave a child alone whilst cooking, and move matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.”

However, children 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.

Group Manager Page 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.”

To help keep you and your family safe whilst cooking here are our top tips:

· 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 weekly.

To help you teach children how to be safe from the risk of fire in the home Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service has created a number of interactive videos and worksheets that can be found on our website.