With the summer holidays starting, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service are asking parents and carers to take this opportunity to make any kitchen activities a chance to teach children about fire safety.
Last year, of the house fires attended by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, over 50% started in the kitchen. It’s important to keep the fire safety tips in mind not only when cooking with children, but when you’re in the kitchen in general.
Whether they’re lending a hand or simply seeking a snack, it’s important to make sure that children know the hazards of the kitchen. Children don’t have to be in the kitchen to change the way you work – a distraction while cooking is a main cause of fire call-outs right across the country.
Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety, said: “From bake-offs to barbecues, there are lots of creative ways to teach children about fire safety, and it’s vital that they know what to do if the worst should happen. So, alongside the fun activities such as baking cakes and biscuits, why not test your smoke alarms as part of the activity, and remember, never leave a child unattended in the kitchen when the appliances are turned on.
“Across the UK, half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen, often because of distractions like phone calls or a knock at the door. It’s vital to remember that when you’re cooking, you keep distractions to a minimum. This is not only a good lesson for children, but also for everyone in learning about cooking safety.”
Below are some top tips to help you and your family stay safe this summer:
- Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
- Don’t leave cooking unattended.
- If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999.
- Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
- Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
- Take care with electrics – keep leads and appliances away from water and place grills and toasters away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
- Remember to register large appliances that handle essential chores, chill food and cook at www.registermyappliance.org.uk
- 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.
- Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
- Make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly.
For more advice on teaching children about fire safety, visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafetyeducation