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Nationally around half of all house fires start in the kitchen.

Chip pan fire

On a local level, there has been a worrying rise in accidental dwelling fires in North East Lincolnshire over the summer months. Whilst 2020-21 saw around a 40% decrease on the previous two years, 10 house fires in August 2021 have pushed up the 2021-22 figures towards the pre-Covid numbers.

Cooking, electrical faults and even a chip pan fire [library photo] were just some of the causes.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is urging members of the public not to leave cooking unattended and to ensure that gas or electric hobs are kept clear of combustible materials such as tea towels, oven gloves or even newspapers and post.

There are several things you can do to significantly reduce the chance of a fire in the kitchen:

  • Do not leave pans unattended. Stand by your pan. Take them off the heat if you have to leave the room
  • Never leave a child unattended when cooking
  • When you have finished cooking, ensure your oven is turned off
  • The safest way to deep fry is to use a thermostat – controlled electric deep fat fryer. The thermostat stops it from overheating
  • Do not cook when tired or if you have had alcohol. Have a takeaway or cold snack instead

Good habits to reduce the risk of fire in your home

  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean. A build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
  • Never use water on, a hot oil or chip pan fire
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen roll
  • Keep your microwave clean and do not put metal in it
  • Keep electrical leads, tea towels and clothes away from the cooker
  • Turn off electrical appliances when they are not in use

Cooking with oil

You need to be especially careful when you are deep-fat frying or cooking with oil because hot oil can catch fire easily. Make sure you:

  • Don’t use a chip pan
  • Don’t fill a deep-fat fryer more than one-third full of oil
  • Use a thermostat-controlled deep-fat fryer, which will make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot

Fire safety equipment for the kitchen

You could consider keeping a fire blanket in the kitchen. Fire blankets can be used to put out a fire or wrap a person whose clothes are on fire. Don’t fit a smoke alarm in a kitchen or bathroom where it could be set off by cooking fumes or steam. If you find your smoke alarm goes off a lot accidentally, you can buy one that is fitted with a ‘hush’ button. This means you can silence it instantly so you’re not tempted to remove the battery (except to change it for a new one).

Ventilation equipment in the kitchen

Check regularly that the ventilators in your kitchen, like range hoods or fans, are working properly and are not blocked up. This is especially important if you have a gas cooker in case any leaking gas builds up.

Read the story online on the Grimsby Live website

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