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Take care in the kitchen to keep your family fire safe urge firefighters

Take care in the kitchen to keep your family fire safe urge firefighters

8 January 2015

Thames-side’s firefighters are prompting residents to make a difference to their family safety during 2016 by exercising good safety habits and following some simple prevention steps.

The message comes after two recent kitchen fires in the Gravesend area.

The first call out was to a chip pan fire in a third-floor flat in London Road, Northfleet last night, (Thursday) at 7.09pm. It is believed the resident had put a pan on to heat and gone into another room. The couple and their two young children were alerted to the blaze by the smell of smoke and their smoke alarm sounding.

Two fire engines were quickly on the scene and Watch Manager, John Allwright, explained what happened: "They quickly returned to their kitchen and discovered the pan in flames, which were starting to spread to the work surface. The man put a wet tea towel over the pan to try to smother the flames and then used a dry powder extinguisher but unfortunately, this made it worse."

Fire crews used a thermal image camera to check for fire spread and reinstated the power to the property, which the resident had sensibly turned off. The family, their pet rabbit and hamster were all okay and fire damage was limited to the worktops and a plaster wall.

The previous evening (Wednesday), Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) was called to a first-floor flat in Homemead Close, Gravesend after the automatic fire alarms in the building sounded at 11.43pm. Thames-side firefighters were on the scene within minutes and found a couple in the smoke-filled corridor. The occupants of the other flats were asked to stay in their homes with their doors shut; while a positive pressure ventilation fan was used to clear the smoke and a hose reel to extinguish the small fire.

The fire is believed to have started after shopping bags were put on top of and surrounding a toaster, one of which accidentally switched the toaster on. The fire melted the toaster, caused damage to the work surface, shopping and smoke damage to the kitchen.

John added: "We spoke to the residents involved in these two incidents about how they could keep safe from fire. But please talk to your family and discuss whether one of your kitchen habits could cause a fire in your home. Fire prevention costs little or nothing and it could be as simple as just doing something differently."

Tips include: 

  • Think ahead, make an escape plan and practice it, so that you and everyone in your home know what to do in the event of a fire. It’s important to think about any children, or older or disabled people who may need extra help to get out 
  • Keep all routes clear so that you can get out quickly and easily without furniture, rubbish, prams etc., blocking your escape 
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home 
  • Switch electrical items off at the switch when you’ve finished using them 
  • If you really have to leave the kitchen while cooking, turn the heat off – its easy to get distracted and forget about the cooking 
  • If you discover your pan is alight, put a lid on it and turn the heat off, if you can do so safely – if not,
  • Get out of your property, closing the internal doors as you leave to limit the fire, phone 999 and ask for the fire service
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