With many households flipping pancakes to mark Shrove Tuesday next week (16 February) Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is issuing a few simple tips to keep you and your home safe from the risk of cooking fires.

Nearly a third (30.4 percent) of accidental dwelling fires that KFRS attended last year were cooking related.*

Head of Community Safety Stuart Skilton said: “Overheated oil in pans, deep fat fryers or dirty ovens and grill pans along with unattended cooking are the main cause of cooking fires. A moment’s distraction, especially if under the influence of alcohol, could find you faced with a serious fire that could take your home or your life. People also risk serious injury as a result of these types of incidents so take our advice and help keep you and your family safe.”

Residents are advised to take the following safety measures:

• Don’t leave pans unattended. Take them off the heat if you leave the room. Remember, fire starts when your attention stops
• Turn saucepan handles so that they
don’t stick out from the hob
• Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil. If the oil starts to smoke, do not begin cooking - remove from the heat and leave it to cool
• Keep the oven, hob and grill clean - a build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
• Do not leave items on top of a hob in case it is accidentally turned on
• If you are going out for a night out and may be drinking, try and pre-plan for your return home and take a snack from the fridge or cupboard instead of turning on the cooker for a hot meal
• Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and test the batteries regularly
• If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call the Fire and Rescue service.

Oil and fat fires are not minor – they can and do injure and kill!

If you would like any further information on fire safety issues, please call our freephone number 0800 923 7000 to book a home safety visit or visit our website on www.kent.fire-uk.org.

*KFRS figures for April 2008 to March 2009 show that out of 760 accidental dwelling fires attended 231 were cooking related.