Fires in the Kitchen

Perhaps not surprisingly a large number of fires in the home start in the kitchen. The London Fire Brigade says, around 60 per cent. 

Kitchens tend to be warm and dry. There are many sources of ignition; electrical devices such as toasters, kettles, blenders, microwaves and even naked flames if you use a gas oven. In addition to that there are usually a good supply of combustible materials; fats and oils, cloths, curtains or blinds, wooden cupboards.

Deep fat fryers, though they are less common these days, can be a particular hazard as they are used at high temperature and contain a relatively large quantity of a highly combustible material, fat or oil.

Washing machines account for approximately 600 fires a year, tumble dryers more than 500, dishwashers over 450, ovens 350, and fridges and freezers around 300 according to government statistics.

If there is a fire in the kitchen whilst you are at home:

  • Try to remain calm and do not immediately throw water on the fire. Water does not go well with electrical items and burning fat and oil fires will simply be made worse.
  • For an electric appliance, switch off at the wall if possible. If a gas hob, ensure the gas is isolated.
  • Use a fire extinguisher of the appropriate type if you have one and know how to use it;

                                             Wet Chemical for an oil or fat fire

                                             Dry Powder for an electrical fire

  • One of the most effective ways of putting out a fat or oil fire in a pan is to starve the fire of oxygen.

   If it is safe to do so and you have one, place the lid on the pan using kitchen gloves to avoid getting burned.

   If you do not have a lid, wet a towel, hold the towel by the corners, protecting your hands, and place it carefully over the burning pan.

The bottom line is if you do not feel comfortable tackling the fire, don’t take the risk, it is far better to be safe than sorry. So close the kitchen door to reduce the spread of the fire and smoke, get everyone out of the building and call the fire brigade.

Prevention is far better than cure so ensure that you reduce the risk of a fire occurring in the first place. Electrical items with moving parts (washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers) should not be left running whilst you are out, or overnight when you go to bed. Observe the Blue Watch kitchen safety tips.

Consider a fire blanket and/or fire extinguishers if you do not already have them.



23 Jun 2017
11:53 am

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