As the capital marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London – which began in a baker’s kitchen, lasted for four days and destroyed more than 13,000 homes – research by Electrical Safety First has found that more than a million people have called 999 to deal with a kitchen fire.
To highlight the fact that around half of all domestic fires in England are caused by cooking appliances, the charity has launched a new fire safety campaign, fronted by Mat Riley, a fire fighter with London Fire Brigade and a former Great British Bake Off contestant.
“Like that fateful fire of 1666, many kitchen fires arise from human error – from a chip pan fire getting out of control to using a microwave incorrectly, or leaving the oven on,” explains Electrical Safety First director general Phil Buckle. “In fact, cooking appliances cause almost half of all domestic fires in England.”
The Charity’s research found that one in six have cooked when drunk (increasing to almost a quarter for 25-34 year olds); over a third (36%) have been distracted by a phone, a person, or the TV, while cooking; and an estimated 2.5 million have fallen asleep while food is cooking in the oven. It also discovered that almost a third (31%) admitted to leaving a hob or oven switched on after use.
Disturbingly, the research revealed that people did not know what to do in the event of a kitchen fire. Almost a third (30.8%) thought it was safe to extinguish a chip pan fire with water and one in twelve (8.8%) said that they would throw water on a frying pan if it caught fire.
Electrical Safety First has produced a series of short videos to illustrate the risks associated with cooking – including one where Mat Riley offers his recipe commemorating the Great Fire of London, which also includes his own electrical safety tips for bakers.
More information about cooking safety can be found at: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/watchwhatyouheat.