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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Look When You Cook this Christmas!

23/12/2011

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to ‘look when you cook’ when preparing Christmas dinner this weekend.

"We don’t want your Christmas to go up in smoke."

Group Manager, Wayne Bowcock

More than half of all house fires are started by cooking and so the Service is running a campaign which encourages people to ‘stand by your pan’ and remain in the kitchen whilst cooking. The campaign highlights how easy it is to become distracted whilst cooking and on Christmas Day there are even more distractions than usual.

Group Manager, Wayne Bowcock said: "We don’t want your Christmas to go up in smoke - statistics reveal that most accidental house fires happen during the Festive season, particularly in the kitchen, which is why it’s so important to consider fire safety.

"We don’t want families to have their Christmas spoilt because their house has burnt down or even worse a loved one has died in a house fire.

"We tend to see an increase in fires at Christmas because there are extra distractions and more fire hazards. Our main advice is to ensure you look while you cook and try to avoid doing too many things at once. Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking and avoid drinking alcohol while you cook."

In Staffordshire last year there were 152 fires over the Christmas period (see notes to editor), over 70% of which were accidental.

Festive Fire Safety Tips

• Most fires start in the kitchen so it’s important to never leave cooking unattended. Make sure you turn off your oven and stove when you have finished preparing the meal.
• With so much going on, it’s easy to miss some common risks.  Make sure children aren’t in the kitchen when you’re cooking and ensure that matches and lighters are out of reach.
• Keep decorations, cards and wrapping paper away from candles, fires, lights and heaters. Never leave candles unattended and take extra care when drinking alcohol.
• Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598).
• Always use an RCD on outdoor electrical equipment (a safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault).
• Don’t overload sockets – ensure only one plug per socket. Make sure plugs are turned off when they are not in use.
• Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly and refrain from smoking in bed.
• Take time to check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas, as they are at greater risk from fire.
• To book a free Home Fire Risk Check, call 0800 0241 999 – this can be for your own home or on behalf of a relative, friend or neighbour.
• And finally …ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home. Push the Button on a weekly basis and ensure you don’t remove smoke alarm batteries to power presents.