Tips to avoiding Christmas cooking fires this festive season

Christmas dinner

Busy planning to whip up a festive feast for Christmas day?

Firefighters at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like to urge people to keep safe as cooking is still a major cause of fire in the home.

Alcohol can also be a factor at this time of year as people often consume their festive tipples while trying to focus on creating a culinary masterpiece for Christmas lunch.

NFRS would like to ask people to consider leaving drinking until after the cooking is done, and also to remember not to leave their cooking unattended as this can be a cause of house fire.

Everyone at NFRS hopes residents in Northamptonshire have a happy and safe Christmas, so they are reminding people of some important safety tips when it comes to cooking, as there could be more serious consequences than burnt Brussels.

District Liaison Officer Tina Collett said: “I know, anecdotally, people say they often have a drink while cooking their Christmas dinner, but what we know in the fire service is alcohol can play a part in many types of fire. Alcohol impacts on the part of your brain linked to judgement and decision making so it can result in reckless or poorly judged behaviour.

“It can also result in sleepiness and lead to issues where people fall asleep either smoking or while waiting for food to cook.

“We would ask people to please pay attention to their cooking and, if you do drink alcohol, leave that until the cooking is done.”

Tips to safe Christmas cooking:

  • Kitchens can be very dangerous places for young children when food is being prepared. Never leave them alone in the kitchen when something is cooking on the hob. Make sure you keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.
  • Take care if you are wearing loose clothing when cooking as this can catch fire.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths well away from the cooker and hob.
  • Remember that spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they don’t have a naked flame.
  • It is always best to double check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking.
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • Do not put anything metal in a microwave.
  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily.
  • If oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it’s safe to do so. Never throw water over it.
  • Make sure you leave any alcohol consumption until after the cooking is finished.
  • In an emergency, get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Remember that smoke alarms can save lives. Make sure you have one on every level of your home and that these are checked at least once a month to ensure they are working. Press to test.
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