Did you know that almost two thirds of all domestic fires happen in the kitchen? Makes sense given all of the sources of heat, as well as the materials used such as oils and fat. Every year, over seven thousand people are injured in the UK due to kitchen fires. That figure doesn’t take into account the number of people who have died due to kitchen fires. Just the other day I tried to pull out a baking sheet from the oven using a dish cloth and the dish cloth touched the element and immediately caught fire. I was able to shake the fire out but I was lucky.

We’re often rushed these days. Our thoughts may be on our job, our family or, perhaps, an upcoming event in our lives. Cooking while distracted can have severe consequences but we do it every day. If you can’t be mindful of what you are doing in the kitchen, at least be mindful of the layout of your kitchen. Make sure that electrical cords are kept away from water, as well as your cooker. Clean your cooker often to avoid a build-up of grease or bits of food that can start a fire. Ensuring that all of your appliances are maintained and cleaned will help reduce your risk of fire. These simple actions can save you in the long run.

Have you ever had a smoke alarm in the kitchen that goes off so often that you remove the batteries? Not a good idea. Instead, purchase a detector with a ‘hush button’ so you can silence it quickly if it does go off accidentally, or you can move it a bit further away from the kitchen so that regular cooking doesn’t set it off. Either way, make sure to have a working detector near or in your kitchen.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a fire in your kitchen, do not take any risks. Unless you know what kind of fire extinguisher to use on different types of fire, it is best to get everyone out of the house and call for Fire and Rescue. Never through water on a fire in the kitchen. If there is grease or fat involved then the water will not put the fire out but it will disperse the flames, making the fire worse. An electrical fire could be stopped by turning off the power source but only if it is safe to do so. Unplugging it or turning off the main power supply can sometimes stop the fire but only do this if it can be done safely.

As for fire extinguishers, you have to know which one is best for most kitchen fires. You also have to be comfortable using one. A small fire extinguisher will only last a couple of minutes, if that, so if you are going to use one you have to be sure it’s the right type for the fire you have. A water mist extinguisher is the best choice for a kitchen. It would be a judgement call as to whether you want to try to extinguish a fire yourself or simply get out and call Fire and Rescue. The bottom line is to be safe in the kitchen and to not become a statistic.