Guest column: Fire risk increases in summer by Gary Platts

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For those of you who are regular readers of the Burning Issues column, you will know that our thoughts soon turn to BBQ safety as the summer months prevail.

However, you may find it interesting to know that we see an increase in kitchen fires over the summer months too.

It seems a combination of summer school holidays and enjoying an ‘al fresco’ lifestyle can both contribute to the number of kitchen fires increasing.

Kids running riot around the house? Squabbles over which game to play, or who is in charge of the remote! It’s easy to see how you can soon become a kid’s referee, becoming distracted and taking your eye off what’s cooking in the kitchen.

The summer also heralds a culture of enjoying a glass of something nice in the garden while your evening meal is merrily cooking away in the kitchen – but it only takes a moment of distraction for fire to break out.

With more than 50 per cent of all accidental house fires starting in the kitchen, it’s important to follow some simple steps to ensure everyone stays safe, no matter what the distraction.

Never leave cooking unattended – if you must leave the kitchen, take pans off the heat, or turn the heat down.

If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks! Get out, stay out and call 999.

Double check the hobs and grills are switched off when you’ve finished cooking.

Keep tea towels, cloths and kitchen roll away from the cooker and hob.

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

Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.

Take care with electrics - keep leads and appliances away from water.

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.

Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it weekly.

In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place and ensure everyone in the family is aware of it.

Never take a risk and tackle a fire yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.

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