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Fire safety in the kitchen

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The kitchen is potentially the most hazardous room in the home. There are hot surfaces, naked flames, plentiful supplies of fuel, electrical appliances, lots of materials which can burn and scald, etc. There are plenty of potential distractions also i.e. children, telephones, televisions/radios, neighbours, washing machines, and the list goes on and on!

It is important to have;

  • a "safe work" practice, to avoid distractions
  • a Fire Blanket and Fire Extinguisher
  • a fully stocked First Aid kit

Tips to improve fire safety in the kitchen

Children

  • Most burn and scald incidents to children happen in the kitchen. Never allow children in the kitchen unsupervised.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Spark devices or heated elements are a safer way of igniting gas appliances than leaving matches lying around.

Cookers

  • Keep cookers clean - allowing grease to build up is a fire risk.
  • Turn off the cooker when not in use.
  • Check that the cooker is turned off before going to bed.
  • Never use a cooker to dry clothes.
  • Clean or replace filters on extractor fans regularly .
  • Keep the handles of pots turned inwards and not over the flames or rings .
  • Never allow electrical cables run across a cooker i.e. electric kettles, toasters etc.
  • Take care with loose clothing when reaching over cookers, particularly with gas rings.
  • Never hang tea towels on or over cookers.
  • Gas cookers and boilers need fresh air to work correctly. Never block up vents etc.

Chip Pans/Deep Fat Fryers

  • Use only purpose-made deep fat fryers, not saucepans
  • Avoid/take extreme care when using "chip pans" as they are a major fire hazard .
  • Never fill the chip pan/deep fat fryer more than one third full of oil or fat.
  • Test the oil/fat temperature by placing a small piece of bread in it. If it crisps quickly the oil/fat is ready.
  • If the oil/fat is smoking then it is too hot. Turn the heat off and let it cool down before starting again.
  • Never move a hot chip pan/deep fat fryer.
  • Never leave a chip pan/deep fat fryer unattended.
  • Never try to cook chips when you have taken alcohol as people tend to fall asleep when waiting for the oil/fat to heat up. This is a major cause of fires and deaths.
  • Using a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer or switching to oven chips can prevent most of these fires.

Electrical Appliances

  • Electrical appliances cause a number of domestic fires every year.
  • Make sure that all electrical appliances are properly maintained and installed by a qualified person.
  • Never overload electric sockets as it is a major fire hazard.
  • Contact an electrician if cables are worn or damaged or simply replace the item.
  • Avoid leaving them operating overnight. If you intend to leave them operating overnight then they should be in rooms separated from the main escape route by a closed door.
  • In the event of a fire which is in an electrical appliance or socket/wiring, turn off the power at the main isolation switch but only if this can be done safely without delaying the escape.

Contact Details

National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Rm. G59
Custom House
Dublin 1
D01 W6X0

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