Who is most at risk of cooking fires?
Anyone who cooks is at risk of fire, but certain groups of people are more at risk. Across Devon and Somerset, the group most at risk of fire is in the age group aged 65 and over, with around three-quarters of this group’s domestic fires started by cooking. Unfortunately, we also see more injuries from cooking fires and more hospitalised injuries in people aged over 65.
We know that distraction is a major cause of cooking fires, so busy households with children, animals (or both!) are also at a higher risk of cooking fire. You can reduce the risk of cooking fire due to distraction by using a cooking timer.
What to do if you have a cooking fire
- Turn off the heat under the pan (if it’s safe to do so) so it starts to cool.
- Leave the pan where it is – don’t move it.
- Never throw water over it or use a fire extinguisher - the effects can be devastating and spread the fire further.
- Leave the room, close the door, get everyone out of your home and stay out. Then call 999.
If you cannot turn off the heat, just get out, closing the doors behind you (to stop the spread) and call 999. Do not go back inside until you are told by the fire service that it is safe to go to.
Worried about someone you care about and their cooking habits?
It’s natural for you to worry about loved ones being safe in the kitchen. We have the following advice:
- Encourage safe and simple cooking methods.
- Avoid deep fat frying or using a frying pan with a lot of oil. Air fryers are a safer alternative to deep fat frying, or cooking in the oven may give similar results and is often a safer method, as long as a cooking timer is set. A microwave may also be a safe option, as long as it is used according the instructions.
- For some people, it may be safest to avoid cooking completely.
- If you’d like to talk to someone about fire safety, call our advice line on 0800 0502 999.