More than 50 per cent of accidental house fires in Cambridgeshire start in the kitchen. Every month firefighters get called to fires which were caused by faulty or misused kitchen appliances such as tumble driers and dishwashers.
All electrical appliances present a fire hazard, but those time saving gadgets in the kitchen can be dangerous if they are not maintained or used with care.
By following some simple precautions with your appliances, you can significantly reduce the risk of a fire ruining your house or endangering your family.
Electricity is a fire hazard because it makes things around it heat up. With proper ventilation, this should not normally be a problem, but care should be taken nonetheless to ensure that plugs, sockets, wires and appliances are ventilated appropriately.
Many electrical fires could have been prevented simply by regularly checking the condition of the wiring, plugs and sockets. If any of these are hot to the touch or appear to be burnt, there is a problem that needs to be rectified before something catches fire.
A fuse that keeps 'blowing' is a sign that there is a fault with the wiring or the appliance and this should be investigated by a qualified electrician. Flickering lights can also indicate a problem.
- Don't remove plugs by pulling the lead, as this can break the wires - pull on the housing of the plug instead
- Ensure that the outer sheath of the lead is fastened under the clamp within the plug
- Electrical leads should not be run under carpets as any damage to it will go unseen.
- Make sure all sockets and switches are at least 30 centimetres from the sink
- If an appliance is fitted under a worktop (for example a dishwasher) the socket can be hard to reach. These appliances should be controlled by a switched fuse-connection unit mounted above the worktop. Remember to get all electrical work carried out by a qualified electrician.
Using your appliances
Always consult the manufacturer for the correct way to operate your kitchen appliances.
- Never use electrical appliances or switches with wet hands
- Keep all electrical appliances clean and in good condition to reduce the risk of a fire. Never clean an appliance which is still plugged in.
- With tumble driers it is important to clean away the fluff that builds up after every use.
- Only leave appliances plugged in for as long as they need to be. Many appliances do not need to be plugged in when not in use.
- Never leave appliances running at night or when the house is unoccupied. If there is no one to discover the fire it will soon spread to the rest of the house. If you are asleep at the time you will be at much greater risk.
If something does go wrong, you need to know about it as soon as possible. Every second counts in a fire, and having a properly working smoke alarm often proves to be the difference between life and death in a house fire.
- Fit a smoke alarm on every floor of your house and test them every month.
- A FREE Home Fire Safety Check may be available to you. This is where we visit your home, offer fire safety advice and fit smoke alarms where needed. Requests are prioritised according to individual risk.
- NEVER take the batteries out of a smoke alarm if it keeps going off while you are cooking. An optical smoke alarm might be more suitable near the kitchen as this will not keep going off when you are cooking.
If you discover a fire
- Tackling a fire is a job best left to professional firefighters. If you discover a fire, get out of the house, shutting the door on the fire if possible and dial 999. Leave your pets, firefighters will rescue them.