Firecrews Promote Kitchen Safety

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is launching a new campaign this week to raise awareness of fire safety in the kitchen.

Kitchen Fire Safety Week (September 17-21) is being promoted across the county after the latest Fire Service figures revealed that more than two thirds of the house fires in West Sussex start in the kitchen.

In the last 12 months (April 1st 2011 to March 31st 2012) fire crews from across west Sussex have been called to 436 accidental house fires in the home. An alarming 67% of those started in the kitchen, many as a result of unattended or careless cooking.

Cooking safety events are taking place around the county throughout the week, fire crews will be focusing their home fire safety visits on kitchen safety and there will be daily tips on Facebook, Twitter and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's website to help raise awareness.

Adrian Carter, Deputy Safer Communities Manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said:"We are hoping that by creating this special awareness week we can really focus people's attention on reducing the risk of fires in their kitchens. Two out of every three house fires our crews are called to start in the kitchen and many of those are due to careless or unattended cooking, so are completely avoidable.

"Kitchen fires are certainly not a new problem, but while a combination of education and fire safety regulations have meant many other types of fire in the home have steadily reduced over the last few years, kitchen fires have not fallen at the same rate. This awareness week spearheads a year long kitchen safety campaign which we hope will make a real impact on those statistics.

"We know that people lead very busy and demanding lives nowadays and it's easy to be complacent and imagine that a fire won't happen to you, but our statistics certainly say different. We appreciate there can be a multitude of distractions when you are cooking, but it only takes a moment's lack of concentration or carelessness for a devastating fire to start and rapidly spread, so we urge people to stay alert."

Firefighters' tips on staying safe in the kitchen:

. Kitchen fires often occur when people leave cooking unattended - if you are called away from the cooker then ensure you take pans off the heat

. Clean toasters, hobs and grill pans regularly to avoid a build up of crumbs or fat which can easily catch fire

. Cooking after drinking alcohol can be a recipe for disaster - consider a takeaway instead!

. Don't put oven gloves or tea towels down onto a hot cooker after you've used them

. Never fill a chip pan (or other deep-fat fryer) more than one-third full of oil. Consider using a thermostatically controlled deep-fat fryer - this will ensure that the fat does not get too hot

. Never use water on a chip pan fire - it will create a potentially lethal fireball

. If a pan catches fire don't move it - it will be extremely hot

. If you do have a fire in the kitchen, don't take any risks - get everyone out and dial 999.

. Working smoke alarms really do save lives - make sure you have on on each level of your home and test them weekly!

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service can help you stay safer in the kitchen with a FREE Home Fire Safety Check. Why not call 0800 328 6487 and find out if you are eligible?