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Kitchen fires

Last year there were 66 accidental dwelling fires due to cooking which is a reduction of more than a fifth on the previous year. Cooking related fires account for the biggest proportion of accidental dwelling fires in Cornwall.

Cooking related fires can be very dangerous and over the past three years there have been two deaths and six serious injuries due to this type of incident. Nearly all of these fires occurred in the kitchen and the majority are related to the oven (60%) and then the grill/ toaster (15%).

Follow the simple tips below to help make your kitchen safe:

  • Keep electrical leads from trailing over or going near the cooker
  • Don't hang tea-towels or cloths on or over the cooker and don't put oven gloves down on the cooker after you've used them
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean as a build-up of fat and bits of food can start a fire
  • Don't leave pans on the hob when you're not around - take them off the heat if you have to leave the kitchen (even if you think it will only be for a moment, while you answer the door or phone)

Important safety notice about Beko, Leisure and Flavel gas cookers

Do you have a Beko, Leisure or Flavel gas cooking appliance that was manufactured before 2009? If so, please check the serial number on your appliance. (This is located on the rating plate at the bottom front edge of the appliance.) You should cross match it with the serial number list provided. If your product serial number matches any on the list provided please contact Beko straightaway and arrange for a free safety inspection and modification.

View detailed information about the Beko product safety notice

For more information on product recall / safety notices, visit the Electrical Safety First website.

  • Don't put anything that is made of metal, or has a metallic finish or parts, in the microwave
  • Don't dry clothes in the microwave

  • Keep electrical leads away from water
  • Don't put a plant pot or anything wet on top of an electrical appliance
  • Check the toaster is clean and well away from curtains; empty the crumb tray regularly
  • Don't overload sockets - one plug per socket is the rule, especially if the appliance takes a lot of power (like a kettle)
  • Don't run extension cables across the floor, as they can become worn
  • Electrical appliances - especially those that work at high speeds, such as the washing machine - should be serviced each year
  • Don't leave appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers on at night
  • Check that your kettle is not leaking – this can be dangerous

Check regularly that the ventilation in your kitchen is working properly and is not blocked up, especially if you have a gas cooker.

  • Buy a smoke alarm fitted with a "hush button", so if it goes off accidentally you can silence it instantly and aren't tempted to remove the battery (except to change it for a new one).
  • Consider having a fire blanket in your kitchen, mounted on the wall where you can get to it easily and quickly.

Most kitchen fires occur when people are distracted or leave things unattended, so remember:

  • if you're called away from the cooker - by the phone or someone at the door, for example - take pans off the heat
  • don't let yourself be distracted while cooking
  • don't cook if you're affected by alcohol or prescription drugs
  • turn saucepans so that their handles don't stick out (and aren't over another ring)
  • don't put oven gloves or tea-towels down onto the hot cooker after you've used them
  • clean your grill pan after using it.

Deep-fat frying presents more dangers in your kitchen.

Chip pans are safe as long as you follow some simple guidelines. Before putting food in the pan dry the food, and test the temperature of the oil by putting in a small piece of bread. If the bread crisps quickly the oil is ready.


  • Never fill a chip pan (or other deep-fat fryer) more than one-third full of oil
  • Never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on
  • Never put the food in the pan if the oil begins to give off smoke.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool, otherwise it could catch fire
  • Consider using a thermostatically controlled deep-fat fryer - this will ensure that the fat does not get too hot

If your pan does catch fire:

  • Don't take any risks.
  • Turn off the heat if it's safe to do so - but never lean over a pan to reach the controls.
  • If you have a fire blanket, put it over the pan.
  • Don't use a fire extinguisher on a pan of oil - the force of the extinguisher can spread the fire.
  • Never throw water over it.
  • Don't move it - it is likely to be extremely hot.
  • If you have put the fire out, leave the pan to cool completely.

If you are in any doubt about whether to try and put out a chip pan fire yourself, then don't - leave the room, close the door and dial 999.

If you have an electrical fire in the kitchen:

  • if it is safe to do so, switch off the power at the fuse box - this may be enough to stop the fire immediately
  • smother the fire with a fire blanket, or use a dry powder or carbon dioxide extinguisher
  • remember: never use water on an electrical fire

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