Cooking safely this Christmas

​With Christmas just a few days away, it is now the season when many home cooks will test out their culinary skills in the kitchen – often under the influence of alcohol.

Firefighters at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like everyone to have a happy and safe Christmas, so they are reminding people of some important safety tips when it comes to cooking.

Every year, NFRS attend cooking related fires, many of which are caused by cooking being left unattended.

High risk area

Nationally, it is the case that the majority of fires start in the kitchen so it is known to be a high risk area.

For this reason, firefighters are urging people to please take note of safety advice and cook safely this Christmas as there could be more at stake than simply a burnt turkey.

District Liaison Officer Tina Collett said: “Many people enjoy an alcoholic tipple over Christmas, but there are important reasons why we strongly advise not drinking while you are cooking.

“Alcohol can affect the part of your brain associated with judgement and decision making, causing reckless and uninhibited behaviour.

“Alcohol is also known to impair the nervous system, making people feel light-headed and affecting reaction time and co-ordination.

“Everyone who cooks will know how much attention cooking takes to prevent food burning or even catching fire. We would urge you to wait until after the cooking is done if you are planning to drink.”

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.
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