In 2011, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service attended 215 cooking related fires; these could have been easily avoided if more people were aware of basic cooking safety. Being aware of the dangers of fire and taking preventative measures could help save the lives of you and your family. Your home and kitchen are full of potential fire risks; if you are aware of these risks you can ensure that you reduce the chances of a fire starting. If you are cooking outdoors, there are other risks which you need to be aware of.
When using a gas barbecue with a gas bottle, always check your gas connections with a leak detecting solution after hooking up a new bottle.
Pay attention to the proximity of flammable materials to your barbecue. We advise you do not cook too closely to combustibles.
When using charcoal, always check to see that there is an ash catcher in place before lighting your barbecue. Hot embers have dropped down underneath a barbecue and start a fire on the shelf or other combustible surface below.
Do not attempt to barbecue or use an open fire when it is windy. Hot embers blown from a cooking fire can start a heath, woodland or house fire.
Educate your children so they know that they cannot play near a barbecue. Running or playing within close proximity to a hot barbecue is an invitation for a serious injury.
Please make sure that the barbecue is completely out before you leave it unattended.
Whether cooking indoors or out, fires strike when you least expect them, get equipped with a smoke alarm. They can be purchased for around £5 which is a small price to pay to save you and your loved ones. Remember your smoke alarm must work to save your life. Make sure you check the battery once a week, dust it every six months, change the battery every twelve months (unless it’s a ten year alarm) and change your alarm every ten years. There are also alarms with strobe lighting and vibrating pads for people who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service provide free home safety advice. Where appropriate these involve members of DFRS staff visiting your home and if needed, fitting or replacing smoke alarms, giving you advice on the use of candles, unattended cooking, electric blankets, overloading sockets, chimneys, low energy light bulbs and much more. This is all free of charge with the aim of encouraging you to think about fire safety in the home. You can sign up online or call freephone 0800 0382323 or 01305 252600.
For more information, download the Barbecue safety leaflet from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.