News release text
People across the county will be celebrating the start of the Chinese New Year this month and Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is reminding those taking part to enjoy the celebrations but do so safely.
The Year of the Snake begins on 10 February. For many it’s a time to celebrate the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one, at home and cooking a special meal for family and friends.
Last year, KFRS attended 238* cooking related fires and Community Engagement Officer, Pauline Yau, said: “It’s easy to get distracted, leaving the cooking while entertaining family and friends. Next thing you know, your kitchen is on fire.
“Always take care in the kitchen, especially if you are cooking with hot oil. If a pan or wok does catch fire, switch the heat off if it’s safe to do so. Never pour water on an oil fire and never try to carry a burning pan.
“Get out of your home, closing the doors behind you to prevent the fire spreading and phone 999. Never tackle a fire yourself, you could be seriously hurt or even killed.”
Celebrations often include fireworks, the lighting of Chinese lanterns and the lighting of altar candles so it’s important to follow a few simple safety precautions to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and are safe from the risk of fire.
Pauline added: “The Chinese New Year festivities are very special and we just ask that people follow a few simply safety tips so that they can enjoy what is most important - welcoming in the Year of the Snake. “
Fireworks are explosive and burn at very high temperatures, so always read the instructions carefully and keep them away from children and pets
Keep Chinese lanterns at a safe distance from curtains, furniture and decorations
Keep flames from candles away from curtains, furniture and decorations that may catch fire and never leave joss sticks or altar candles unattended. Always make sure they are out when you leave the room
Make sure paper cuttings are kept away from naked flames
Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your freezer for example.
Close all doors. By shutting doors you can keep your escape route free from fire
Fit working smoke alarms on every floor of your home and test them every week
Remember, just three breaths of smoke can kill even a young healthy adult
Crews will be at the following venues giving our safety advice in Chinese and English over the next few weeks:
Chatham High Street from 11am to 2.30pm on Saturday, 9 February
Chinese New Year Parade, Chatham High Street from 12 noon to 2pm on Sunday, 17 February. Crews will stage chip pan fire demonstrations to highlight the problems of leaving pans with oil hot unattended
Thanington Resource Centre, Canterbury on Sunday, 24 February from 1pm to 3pm.