Cooking safety

You know what it’s like when you’re trying to get a meal ready.

You’ve left it a bit late and you’re in a rush. The kids are being a pain. You’re trying to get the washing done at the same time. Or maybe you’ve been out for the night and you’ve had a few drinks.

If you’re not concentrating, cooking the simplest meal can cause a fire. Did you know that cooking is the single biggest cause of house fires in Scotland?

It’s a fact. Accidents while people are cooking cause around 1 in every 4 house fires.

Make your kitchen as safe as houses

Fires start when your attention stops. Never walk away while you’re cooking.

In some parts of Scotland, 1 house in every 10 will have a kitchen fire in the next 10 years. And deep frying – using fat or oil – is the biggest risk, causing around 9,500 fires a year in the UK. But that doesn’t have to happen.

If you must use a deep frying pan:

  • turn the pan handle to the side so the fat or oil doesn’t get spilled by accident
  • never fill the pan more than one-third full of fat or oil
  • make sure chips are dry before putting them into hot fat or oil
  • never walk away – not even for a few seconds – when the pan’s on the heat
  • never – ever – deep fry with fat or oil when you’ve been drinking alcohol.

But the best way to avoid having a fire is to use a thermostatcontrolled, electric deep-fat fryer

  • they’re not that expensive – especially when you count the cost of a fire
  • they look smart and they’re smaller than you think
  • they’re much, much safer to use – the safety cut-out (the thermostat) controls the temperature of the fat or oil.

If you must use a deep frying pan and it catches fire:

  • never try to move the pan
  • never throw water over the pan
  • if you can, turn off the heat
  • then put a damp towel over the pan to smother the flames
  • then wait 30 minutes to let the pan cool down
  • phone the fire brigade, even if you think you’ve put the fire out.

But if you can’t put out the fire right away:

  • get out of the kitchen
  • close the door
  • phone the fire brigade

And it’s not just deep frying pans that are a risk when you’re busy cooking:

  • never walk away from the grill pan when it’s under the heat
  • always clean grill pans when you’ve been cooking fatty food
  • turn all pan handles to the side so they’re not spilled by accident
  • never dry tea towels or cloths on – or above – the cooker
  • never trail electrical flexes near cookers
  • never put any metal objects inside microwave ovens
  • switch off electrical appliances like washing machines and dishwashers at the mains


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