Monday, 26 January 2015

Hailsham firefighters tackle accidental kitchen fires by knocking on doors

Hailsham firefighters have been out and about telling people to take extra care in the kitchen.

This follows 26 accidental kitchen fires in the Hailsham area, since 2011.

Night time is particularly dangerous when people are tired or when residents become easily distracted by family commitments.

These can be broken down in the following ways:

  • Fourteen fires started between 5.45pm and 12.15am
  • Twelve fires began between 8.38am and 4.42pm

The majority of these incidents took place within single occupancy premises (20 incidents), five were in houses of multi-occupancy and one was in sheltered housing.

The causes of these fires can be split into the following categories:

  • Twelve due to cooking.
  • Five were due to combustible materials being too close to the heat source.
  • Six were due to faulty appliances.
  • Two were due to an accumulation of flammable material (eg. too much dirt/grease)
  • One was due to an electrical fault.

The cooker was the source of ignition for half of these incidents and potentially seven of these incidents could have been avoided, as they were a result of the occupant falling asleep.

Station Manager Mark Webb explains that their messages have been well received by the public:

He said: “We are visiting around 400 homes in those areas that have experienced this type of accidental fire and, so far, the response has been extremely positive.

“Crews are promoting our Home Safety Visit service as well as offering kitchen safety advice which could potentially save lives.”

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind the public of the following safety information when cooking in the kitchen:

  • Take pans off the heat or turn the heat down if you're called away from the cooker, eg by a phone call.
  • Take care if you're wearing loose clothing, as it can catch fire easily.
  • Don't cook if you have been drinking alcohol or taken prescription drugs - you may get drowsy or lose concentration.

Also, cooker and toaster fires can be prevented by following these simple tips:

  • Turn saucepans so the handles don't stick out over the edge of the hob or over another ring.
  • Double check that the cooker is off when you have finished cooking.
  • Make sure tea-towels aren't hanging over the cooker, don't put oven gloves on top of a hot cooker.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean - built-up fat and bits of food can start a fire.
  • Check that the toaster is clean and well away from curtains and empty the crumb tray regularly.

Also, smoke alarms do save lives and you are at least four times as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven’t got a working smoke alarm.

This is the easiest way to be alerted to the danger of fire, giving you valuable time to escape.
They are cheap, easy to get hold of and easy to fit. Do not forget to test them on a regular basis to keep them in good working order.

You should have a minimum of one alarm on each floor. However, if you have only one alarm and two floors, put it somewhere you'll be able to hear it when you're asleep.

There is lots of useful information about the importance of smoke alarms on our community safety pages. 

Our specially trained staff visit hundreds of homes every year in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove City to give free advice and support.

To see if you are eligible for a Home Safety visit please call us on 0800 177 7069 or complete and return the Home Safety Request form below and make your home a safer place to live in. 

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