A major campaign will be held across the Cleveland area next week (February 20-26) to promote kitchen safety.
Figures released by Cleveland Fire Brigade show that over the last three years (2009 to 2011) there were 614 accidental house fires in Cleveland, 333 ( 52%) of which started in the kitchen.
Over the same period, six people in Cleveland died as a result of kitchen-related fires in the home and a further 128 were injured.
Kitchen Safety Week will be launched at the new Hartlepool College of Further Education on Monday 20 February when fire chiefs will pass on key kitchen safety tips to students.
Outside the College main entrance, firefighters will be carrying out chip pan demonstrations to highlight the dangers, while Phil Lancaster, the Brigade’s Director of Community Protection will judge a student cookery competition.
Also, a Home safety DVD will be beamed throughout the College on large television screens and volunteers from the Cleveland Fire Support Network will be giving out free advice and information.
Similar events are being held throughout the week at colleges in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar and Cleveland, as well as Teesside University.
Phil Lancaster said: “We have decided to focus ‘Kitchen Safety Week’ campaign around local colleges because this is a phase in student’s lives when they will start spending more time in the kitchen preparing and cooking meals and it’s really important to get into safe cooking habits as early as possible.
“A key part of our fire prevention work is about identifying people who are at risk and giving them the right advice and support.
“The statistics are very clear. Over half of house fires start in the kitchen and of these fires almost two-thirds are caused by people leaving cooking unattended or using old-fashioned chip pans. “This demonstrates that the kitchen is the biggest fire risk in the home and during the week we’ll be involved in a number of initiatives to help people stay safe.”
As part of the week-long campaign there will also be leaflets, radio advertising, competitions, the use of social media and an interactive kitchen safety house on the Brigade’s website at www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/kitchen to help spread key safety messages.
To help keep you and your family safe from fire, the Brigade provides free Home Fire Safety Visits and will fit smoke alarms if needed. Call 01429 874063 to arrange a visit to your home and you will receive specific fire safety advice for you and your family.
For further safety information and news about the Brigade visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk or join us on Facebook or Twitter.