Avoid a recipe for disaster and cook safely with the kids this February

Whether they’re lending a hand or simply seeking a snack, it’s important to make sure that children know how to stay safe in the kitchen. That’s why, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for kids to learn about cooking safety.

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Two hobs with blue flames

Ian Barks, Central Hub Prevention Manager, said: “It is important that children know what to do if a fire should occur, so why not teach them about cooking fire safety while they are at home? There are lots of creative ways to teach kids about cooking fire safety but make sure that smoke alarm testing is one of them.

“Whilst you are teaching your children about fire safety, never leave them alone with a hot hob and move matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.”

However, it is important to remember that the kids don’t have to be in the kitchen to change the way you work – distraction while cooking is a main cause of 999 calls across the country. Ian Barks, Central Hub Prevention Manager, said: “Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like phone calls or interactions with family. So, whatever happens elsewhere in your home, always make sure you always have one eye on the hob or oven.”

Shrove Tuesday

Tuesday 16 February is Shrove Tuesday, when people throughout the country make pancakes. When you are distracted by a delicious, warm pancake decorated with your favourite topping, fire safety may slip your mind, but remember that fat and pan fires can be devastating, with a very high proportion of fires resulting in injuries.

Ian Barks, Central Hub Prevention Manager, said: “Making pancakes can be lots of fun for the whole family and they certainly can be delicious. However, over half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen so please take care, especially when cooking with hot oil.”

To stay safe in the kitchen, follow these top tips:

  • If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • 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 regularly.

If a fire does start in your kitchen, do not try to tackle it yourself – get out, stay out, and call 999.

Find more advice on our Cooking page on our website.