A new hard-hitting campaign targeting people who leave cooking unattended is being launched as shocking statistics reveal the number of kitchen fires attended by firefighters.
“Cooking should never be left unattended and distractions kept to a minimum, for example try not to make telephone calls, watch TV or entertain children or pets whilst cooking."
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss
In the period from April 2009 to December 2010, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a total of 1,057 house fires – 52% of which were caused by cooking.
The campaign specifically targets two groups who are most at risk of kitchen fires; families with children who can become easily distracted when cooking and men aged 40 plus who may get an attack of the munchies after a night at the pub and be tempted to start cooking - then fall asleep leaving their pan unattended. The campaign will be launched to coincide with St Patrick’s Day celebrations, which often involve large amounts of alcohol being consumed.
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss said: “This new campaign may be targeted at specific groups of people however everyone should take note and ensure they stand by their pan whilst cooking.
“Cooking should never be left unattended and distractions kept to a minimum, for example try not to make telephone calls, watch TV or entertain children or pets whilst cooking.
“Consumption of alcohol should also be avoided whilst cooking, especially if you are returning from a night out drinking. It only takes a quick closing of the eyes before you’re fast asleep and oblivious to the pan catching fire.
“A cooking fire can quickly take hold, cause a serious amount of damage and if you don’t notice it right away it could be too late. We would also like to remind everyone how essential it is to have working smoke alarms in your home – they could just save your life.”
As part of the campaign two new posters will be distributed to public places including shops, local Sainsbury’s stores, pubs and nightclubs, job centres and nurseries. One poster shows a man, beer in hand, asleep on the sofa whilst a pan catches fire on the hob in the kitchen entitled ‘Don’t Make Fast Food Your Last Food. Watch Your Pan.’ Statistics show that 45% of the fires in the last year involved people who were living alone and 1 in 3 fire deaths is alcohol related.
The second poster shows a mother on the phone whilst also trying to amuse her daughter whilst a pan behind her catches alight entitled ‘Don’t Just Cook, Look! Watch Your Pan.’ Statistics show that 25% of fires were in the homes of people with children.
The Service’s website will also link to a Tammy Wynette inspired video ‘Stand By Your Pan’ (See Notes to Editor). The video tells the story of a man’s return home after a night out with friends, and how his hunger pangs lead him to dice with death, before being saved by ‘fire angels’.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for their free Home Risk Check if they have not already done so. This involves a member of staff from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service visiting your home at an agreed time – day, evening or weekend - and accompanying the owner around every room in their property with the aim of:
• Spotting fire risks in the home.
• Making sure they know what to do in order to reduce these risks.
• Helping to plan an escape route if there is a fire.
• Ensuring there are working smoke alarms on every floor of the home.