Mistakes with microwaves and 'distracted' cooks account for half of all accidental fires in Preston

Half of all accidental house fires in Preston in recent years have been cooking related, figures released as part of a new campaign showed.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 2:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 3:53 pm
Kitchen fires are the biggest cause of accidental fires in Preston, new figures have revealed

Around 50 per cent of 640 ‘accidental dwelling’ blazes in the city over the past six years were caused by people turning on the wrong hob, becoming distracted, or by making mistakes with microwaves.

The campaign, called ‘Cook Safe’, has been split into three phases. The first looked at distractions and the dangers of loose clothing, while the second is addressing the need to keep kitchens “clean and clear”.

Tony Crook, a prevention and protection manager at the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS), said: “Whether it’s storing food items, electrical items, or clothing on the back of the cooker hob - or storing kitchenware inside ovens, it doesn’t take much for the radiated heat to ignite items or the grease and oil to catch in the oven.”

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The third phase, set to be launched either later this year or early next year, will focus on distractions again, and microwaves.

The campaign is being run across the county, with more cash spent on adverts in four of the biggest problem areas: Preston; Blackpool; Lancaster; and Blackburn.

Although cooking fires are falling year-on-year, there is usually a “slight increase” during the winter months.

“This campaign is not just about taking care of your own fire safety in the kitchen but keeping it in mind when you visited family or friends too, particularly if they are older or more vunerable and perhaps aren’t aware of the risk they are putting themselves at,” Mr Crook added.

For a free Home Fire Safety Check, call 0800 169 11 25.