Essex: 10% Of Fires Caused In The Kitchen

30 January 2012, 06:00

Essex firefighters are warning us to make sure that our electrics are safe after research has shown that kitchen fires account for one in 10 of house fires attended in the county.

Between April 2009 and March 2011 Essex firefighters were called to 435 fires started by electrical equipment which left 16 people injured with three of those sustaining serious injuries.

Most commonly electrical fires start in the kitchen with faulty cooking or cleaning equipment.

More than half the homes which have an electrical fire do not have a working smoke alarm. One third of houses which suffered an electrical fire had no smoke alarm at all and a further quarter had a smoke alarm which didn’t work.

Assistant Divisional Officer Chris Noakes said: "We all have electrical equipment in our homes, and on the whole they are safe but when there is a fault they can cause potentially devastating fires which can lead to injury or even death.

"Most electrical fires start in the kitchen, not just in cookers but also in fridges, washing machines and dishwashers.

"Although the effects of an electrical fire can be terrible by taking a few simple precautions you can keep your family and home as safe as possible."

  • Don't overload plug sockets
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires
  • Unplug appliances when not in use
  • Keep appliances clean and in good working order
  • Consider using an RCD – Residual Current Device - which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires

The Electrical Safety Council advises that heaters should be kept clear from curtains and furniture and should never be used for drying clothes, while your electric blanket should be unplugged before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.