Kent Fire & Rescue Service
Make cleaning your oven part of your festive detox

Make oven cleaning part of your post festive detox

7 January 2015

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is urging people to extend their post festive detox plan to include cleaning their ovens. It comes as firefighters tackled a series of cooking related incidents across Kent throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

Grime fires, caused by a build up of fat and grease in kitchen equipment like ovens, grills and on hobs, are blamed for a big proportion of the kitchen fires that KFRS attends each year.

Over a two week period (21 December 2014 – 4 January 2015) KFRS attended over 30 accidental fires in the home, five involved cooking equipment where the first item to ignite was either food or cooking fats.

One incident in Canterbury on New Year’s Day involved a fire that started because of a greasy oven. Firefighters were called to tackle the fire which caused extensive smoke and heat damage to the kitchen, dining room and lounge of the home.

There were a number of other cooking related fires including:

  • Canterbury on New Year’s Day, someone had left cooking unattended to make a phone call. The whole kitchen was left unusable.

  • In Broadstairs on 21 December, oil was left in a pan unattended on the hob.

  • On 4 January, a silicone baking tray caught fire in an oven in Folkestone.

  • On Christmas Day in Margate, food was left cooking in the oven whilst the occupant was visiting relatives.

KFRS Head of Community Safety Lee Rose, said: "You’d be amazed how many homes we go to where minimum standards of hygiene and cleanliness aren't maintained, putting residents at a real risk of having a fire that could severely damage their property. That's why we're raising awareness of this issue, to hopefully motivate people not to put off this particular household chore any longer and to make cleaning out their oven a New Year resolution – it’s a post Christmas detox with a difference."

Lee added: "The majority of fires in the home start in the kitchen area, which is a high risk part of any property. We always encourage people never to leave cooking unattended and to switch off any heat sources if they need to leave the kitchen for any length of time. Another kitchen nightmare comes when you mix alcohol and cooking.  If you’ve been drinking and cooking, but then fall asleep while you’re waiting and a fire breaks out - you're in serious trouble. Just three of breaths of fire smoke can be enough to knock you completely unconscious. It is important to remember – fires start when your attention stops."

To make sure you stay as safe as possible in the kitchen, Lee has this simple advice:

  • Remember that distraction is a deadly danger.

  • Keep ovens, grills and hobs clean and in good working order. A build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.

  • Swap old fashioned chip pans, use oven chips or thermostat controlled fryers instead.

  • Don't attempt to cook if you've been out drinking, get food on the way home.

  • Avoid leaving cooking unattended and never leave children in the kitchen alone.

  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – they can easily catch fire.

  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.

  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily. If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. 

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm that is regularly maintained.


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