Cook safely over the summer holidays

With the summer holidays upon us, many families across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington will be spending more time in the kitchen, so firefighters are asking everyone to think about fire safety.

Whether it’s children lending a hand or learning to bake, young people simply seeking a snack or a meal being prepared for family and friends, it is important to make sure that everyone knows how to cook safely and what they need to do if a fire breaks out.

There are dangers that can come from simply putting a saucepan of beans on a hob or cooking a pizza in the oven, then getting distracted and forgetting about it.

Between April 1 2020 and March 31 2021, Cheshire firefighters attended 135 cooking related fires. The majority of these fires will have caused untold damage to property and possessions and will have taken many months, if not years, to put right. There is also the stress a fire in the home brings to consider, which may be worsened due to the current global pandemic.

Prevention Manager at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is Steve McCormick. He said: “Whether it’s cooking indoors or outdoors, you need to think about your safety and that of the people around you.

“I want to help avoid people experiencing this anguish and inconvenience where possible so my advice, to avoid a fire starting, is to always keep grill pans clean as a build-up of fat and grease can easily ignite a fire under a grill. Keep items such as tea towels, cloths and containers away from the cooking area as these can easily catch fire and never leave cooking unattended, not even for a second, as you can easily become distracted and forget about it.”

When barbecuing outside keep away from hedges, property and fencing and never use liquids such as petrol or white spirits to start your barbecue.  Firelighter cubes are a much safer alternative if used correctly. If you are, using coals or briquettes never put hot embers in a bin.  Allow them to cool down sufficiently before disposal and remember they can remain hot for many hours after use.

If you are using a gas barbecue, always ensure you are using an appropriate gas bottle and that the regulator has been properly connected.  Never move your barbecue whilst it is still hot or connected to the gas bottle.

Steve added: "To ensure firefighters don’t need to attend to unnecessary fires, please never use a barbecue in the countryside.

Finally, make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it regularly. If a fire does break out then these devices will give everyone inside time to escape safely."

If a fire does occur, then please get out, stay out and dial 999 immediately. If you can close the door safely, then do so but never try to tackle a fire yourself.

Last updated: Friday 23 July 2021