Firefighters in south Birmingham are hoping to stir residents into thinking about kitchen safety.
Wooden spoons carrying the message ‘Keep looking while you’re cooking’ are set to be given out by fire crews following a rise in cooking-related fires. The handy safety reminders were the idea of firefighters at Bournbrook fire station, following a rise in kitchen fires on their patch as well as in the Kings Norton, Hay Mills, Sheldon and Billesley areas.
Half of all accidental fires at home start in the kitchen, and often start when people get distracted while they’re cooking.
Crew Commander Rob Hickinbotham, of Bournbrook Blue Watch, said: “A number of our fire stations have, unfortunately, seen a rise in the number of kitchen fires they’ve attended.
“We’re still working to understand the reason, but it’s possible that the increase is linked to the coronavirus lockdowns. It’s possible that more people have been cooking at home more often, or in homes that have been much busier than usual.
“Whatever the reason, we’re asking people to be really careful when they cook and not to get distracted, for example by their mobile phones, the TV or other people.
“We hope the wooden spoons will serve as a simple reminder to people to ‘keep looking while you’re cooking’. We’ll be giving them out with safety leaflets to people unlucky enough to have a kitchen fire, as well as their neighbours.”
A fire in the home can have devastating and long-lasting consequences – but many kitchen fires are avoidable:
- make sure you don’t get distracted when you’re cooking
- take pans off the heat, or turn the heat down, if you need to leave the kitchen
- make sure handles don’t stick out, so pans don’t get knocked off the hob
- take care if you’re wearing loose clothing, which can easily catch fire, and keep tea towels and cloths a safe distance away from the cooker
- never leave children alone in the kitchen
- double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished
- don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol or taken medication that makes you drowsy.
If you are unlucky enough to have a fire at home, never be tempted to tackle it yourself Always: Get out, stay out, call 999.