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Fire service offers safety tips after more than 200 kitchen fires in Norfolk homes

Norfolk County Council, 15 June 2022 00:00

More than half of all Norfolk house fires last year started in the kitchen, with more than 200 blazes across the county being linked to cooking.

Figures released by Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service as part of Home Fire Safety Week show that, in 2021, crews attended 389 fires in homes across the county, with 221 starting in the kitchen.

Cooking-related causes included:

  • Cookers (99),
  • Cooking rings/hotplates (50)
  • Grills/toasters (22)
  • Other sources including microwaves and deep fat fryers

When cooking, the kitchen should not be left unattended and flammable items such as tea towels and trays should be moved away from heat sources.

Norfolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, said: "Campaigns such as Home Fire Safety Week play a key role in keeping residents safe and educating us all in how we can make our own homes safer. We always strive to make Norfolk a safer place and if we can all follow this week's useful guidance, we can go a long way towards achieving this.

Other risks in the home include heaters and fires, with several recent serious fires being linked to the use of portable heaters in the home. 16 fires in 2021 were linked to portable heaters and fires.

There is concern that with the cost of living rises, more people will be tempted to heat only parts of the home using portable heaters in a bid to save money.

These should be sited at least 1m from people and flammable items such as furniture, papers, clothing and blankets. Use of common emollient creams for skin conditions can also increase the risk of flammability of skin, clothing, furniture and bedding as it absorbs into surfaces.

Find out more about portable heater safety.

NFRS's Head of Prevention Tony White said: "Everyone in Norfolk can take steps to reduce the risk of fire occurring in the home. From paying attention when cooking, not smoking indoors and ensuring phones are not left charging overnight, simple everyday measures can make a real difference.

"Fitting smoke alarms is easy and means that you will be alerted day and night so you can make a quick escape. Our community safety team can offer advice and support, including home fire safety visits to vulnerable and older residents."

Around the home, fires are most likely to start in the kitchen but there were also 40 fires in Norfolk in 2021 which started in living rooms and 38 in bedrooms.

Smoking related fires, including from lighters, vapes, cigarettes and other smoking materials including matches accounted for 33 fires in Norfolk homes last year.

Candles caused 13 fires, washing machines and tumble driers lead to 19 fires.

The fire service advises that white goods are not left on at night and that filters are regularly cleaned in driers to prevent fluff building up and leading to fires when it gets hot.

There is also an increased risk of fire if using mobile phone or device chargers, particularly if these are left on flammable surfaces such as beds and sofas, which can cause overheating, or if left on all night. Residents should only use good quality chargers and discard them if the cables or plugs are damaged. There were 21 incidents last year where fire started in cables, wiring or plugs. Five further fires were caused by battery chargers.

Fitting smoke alarms in to homes is the biggest single thing you can do to improve safety in the home. Such alarms alert you to a fire day and night, giving vital time to escape and raise the alarm.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service offers free home fire safety visits to older and vulnerable residents across the county. As well as checking and fitting smoke alarms, the team can work with the resident to discuss having escape plans in place in case of emergency and offer advice around behaviours that increase the risk of fire in the home.

Find out more about fire safety.

National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) National Home Fire Safety Week runs between 13-19 June and aims to keep people safer from fire in their homes.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:43

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