More than half of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen – it is far too easy to be distracted whilst cooking and then leave things unattended.
Top tips for cooking safely
- Keep the oven, hob and grill clean as a build-up of fat or grease can catch fire when hot.
- Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob, and take care if you’re wearing loose clothing.
- Make sure children are never left alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking.
- Saucepan handles left sticking out create a danger – there’s a risk they could be caught, leading to the pans being knocked off the hob.
- Use spark devices to light gas cookers as they are safer than matches and lighters.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
- Avoid cooking if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that leaves you drowsy.
Chip pan safety
Our advice is not to use a chip pan at all! A thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer is far safer, as it can’t overheat.
There are two main causes of chip pan fires:
- The oil or fat overheats and catches fire; or
- The oil or fat spills onto the cooker, either because the pan has been filled too high or because wet chips have been put into the hot oil, causing it to bubble up and overflow.
Some advice if you have to use a chip pan:
- Never fill the pan more than one third full of oil or fat.
- Never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on.
- Make sure the food is dried thoroughly before putting it into the hot oil – otherwise it might spit or bubble up.
- If the oil starts to smoke, it is too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool, otherwise it might catch fire.
- Never put food into the pan if the oil is smoking.
If your pan does catch fire:
- Turn off the heat under the pan (if it’s safe to do so) and allow it to cool completely.
- Don’t try and move the pan.
- NEVER throw water over the pan – the effects can be horrific.
- Don’t try and tackle the fire yourself – leave the room, close the door, get everyone out of the property and call 999.
- Make sure toasters are clean and crumbs are emptied out regularly.
- Don’t insert anything metal into the toaster.
- Toasters should be placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls, and should never be used directly underneath an overhanging cupboard.
- Make sure that your toaster is not placed up against another appliance, as the heat build-up can lead to a fire.
Microwave oven safety
- Never put anything metal into the microwave.
- Don’t try to sterilise dishcloths or sponges by heating them in the microwave.
- Ensure that the turntable is working properly.