Mealtimes can be a busy time for families and people often find themselves trying to juggle many other tasks while trying to cook for everyone.
Whether its catching up with household chores or trying to get the kids organised, it’s easy to get distracted and burn your food while cooking and trying to fit in other tasks.
But as firefighters know only too well, taking your eye off of your cooking can have more serious consequences and lead to a fire in your home, which could cause serious damage and put you, and your family, at risk.
Over half of all the fires that Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) attends in homes start in the kitchen. The majority are caused by unattended cooking, a build up of grease and fat on the cooker, or by kitchen mishaps, where items such as tea towels or washing baskets have been placed on a hot hob.
In KFRS’ latest campaign, firefighters will be asking residents to look at their cooking habits, to ensure they are not juggling with their family’s safety.
KFRS Community Safety Manager Charlie Smith said: “Mealtimes can be very hectic and it’s easy to get diverted for longer than you intended and forget all about your cooking.
“While it may be tempting to take a few moments to catch the end of your favourite TV programme, make that phone call or check your social media newsfeed, it’s really not worth risking the safety or you, your family or your home.”
He added: “We will be asking people to consider what may be distracting them from their cooking tasks and consider ways that they can make fire safety their main ingredient.”
Stay safe in the kitchen by following these safety tips:
- Keep an eye on your cooking and remember to switch off your cooker if you have to leave the room
- Use a timer for items placed in your oven or grill to remind when your food is done and to save it from burning
- Plan and prepare - if you know you have a busy week ahead, try and plan in advance and prepare meals that do not require lots of cooking
- Avoid storing or placing household items on your cooker or stove
- Keep your cooker, grill and oven clean to avoid a build up of grease and fat that could start a fire
- Keep children and pets well away from you cooking area
- Ensure electric cookers, toasters and microwaves are turned off at the mains when you have finished using them
- Make an escape plan and practice it with all your family
- Fit a working smoke alarm on each floor of your home and test it weekly to ensure it provides early warning in the event of a fire.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has developed a light-hearted online quiz which invites people to find out what kind of kitchen character they are based on their responses to a series of kitchen safety questions.
For further fire safety advice visit www.kent.fire-uk.org/cooking or call 0800 923 7000.