Today (3 May) we are launching a new safety campaign, with the aim of reducing cooking fires for people aged over 65 in Devon and Somerset.
More than half of all the fires that we attend start in the kitchen. Whilst everyone who cooks is at risk of cooking fires, fire statistics tell us that older people are more vulnerable to the risks – on average in Devon and Somerset we attend 250 cooking fires a year where at least one occupant is recorded as above pensionable age. This is also nearly a third of all the fires in the home we attend.
Around three-quarters of the domestic fires in households with over 65s are started by cooking. Unfortunately, we also see more injuries from cooking fires and more hospitalised injuries in people aged over 65.
Our new ‘recipe for danger’ campaign focuses on three main points to reduce cooking fires.
- Avoid getting distracted (use a cooking timer).
- Keep cooking areas tidy.
- Use less oil (oil is a high fire risk, so use as little as possible, or use alternative cooking methods instead).
We know that distraction is a major cause of cooking fires. It could be getting distracted by TV, conversations, or animals, or it could be taking a nap, or side effects of medication causing the person to forget about the cooking.
And for over 65s who are likely to have a house full of items of sentimental value and memories, even a small fire could have devastating consequences.
Ros Clarke, Group Manager for Prevention said:
“We want to reduce the risk of cooking fires for our most vulnerable older residents which is why as part of our ‘recipe for danger’ campaign we are encouraging a few simple steps to safer cooking.
“Even a small fire can cause you to lose decades of memories in just a few seconds. I have been to many fires in my career which started with distraction or by having clutter around the hob. You can reduce the risk of cooking fire due to distraction by using a cooking timer, as well as keeping the cooking area tidy.
“We hope these are easy things to change to help our older generation be safer in their homes when cooking.”