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Fire safety advice sparked by kitchen fires

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is issuing some simple tips to keep you and your home safe from fire following a high number of accidental fires involving unattended cooking over the festive period.

Over a third of all accidental fires KFRS attends occur in the kitchen, and in the last ten days, fire crews were called to 12 kitchen fires across the county, half of which occurred during Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Head of Community Safety Stuart Skilton said: "Fortunately no one was injured in these incidents, however several homes sustained smoke damage and without working smoke alarms fitted, the consequences could have been far worse. Unattended cooking, overheated oil in chip pans, deep fat fryers, along with dirty ovens and grill pans are the main causes of cooking fires.

"A moment's distraction, especially if under the influence of alcohol, could find you faced with a serious fire that could take you home or your life. Often people do get hurt as a result of these types of incidents, particularly when they try to tackle fires themselves, so take our advice and help keep you and your family safe."

Here are some basic cooking fire safety advice tips:

  • Don't leave pans unattended. Take them off the heat if you leave the room. Remember, fire starts when your attention stops
  • Turn saucepan handles so that they don't stick out from the hob
  • Never fill a pan more then one third full of fat or oil. If the oil starts to smoke, do not begin cooking - remove from the heat and leave it to cool
  • Consider getting rid of chip pans and switching to oven chips - the effects of a chip pan fire can be devastating
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean - a build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
  • Don't cook if you're tired, or have been drinking - drinking excessive alcohol and cooking do not mix
  • Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home to provide early warning in the unfortunate event of fire, test the batteries weekly and change the batteries yearly
  • NEVER move the object which is on fire - burns last a lifetime
  • Turn the heat off if it safe to do so - but NEVER lean over the pan to reach the cooker controls
  • Do not try to tackle the fire yourself - this can result in serious injury
  • If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call the fire service out
  • REMEMBER - oil and fat fires are not minor - they can and do injure and kill!

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is also urging all residents to take up the offer of a free home safety visit. The free service takes about 30 minutes to carry out and firefighters will visit your home to identify potential fire hazards and fit if required free 10-year smoke alarms. They will give home fire safety advice and help you make an escape plan should fire break out in your home.

Head of Community Safety Stuart Skilton said: "Almost all fires in the home can be prevented so I would urge local residents to take up this offer of a free home safety visit by calling Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000. The advice on offer has the potential to save you or a loved one from the devastating effects of fire."

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