THE dangers of killer chip pan fires were spelled out to students today in an effort to eliminate the risks of a blaze starting in the kitchen.
Firefighter demonstrations, one-to-one advice and talks from people directly affected by chip pan fires were all on offer to youngsters at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
The awareness-raising course comes on the first day of National Chip Pan Week, backed by Cleveland Fire Support Network in partnership with Cleveland Fire Brigade and coincides with the brigade’s new Kitchen Safety campaign, running throughout February.
Bosses at Cleveland Fire Support Network, a voluntary group running alongside the brigade, are targeting students ahead of them moving on to university and living alone for the first time.
And fire brigade chiefs urged residents to throw out their chip pans and wipe out the killer risk completely.
Heather Whyman, chief executive of the network, said: “What we are hoping to do is make more young people more aware of the dangers of chip pan and kitchen fires.
“With a lot of young people going on to independent living as they move to university, it’s about making sure they are safe and making them realise that it can happen to anyone.
“When they are coming in from nights out, the worst thing they can do is start cooking, they should either prepare something beforehand or go to a takeaway.”
Students’ cooking was to be put to the test today during a competition – one way of helping the young people find their way safely around the kitchen.
It isn’t just students who are being targeted in the two campaigns.
Cleveland Fire Brigade issued key messages as they urge residents to stay safe in the kitchen.
Firefighters advised people to never leave cooking unattended and make sure the grill is always cleaned after use and electric kitchen appliances maintained.
Other ways of avoiding potentially fatal accidents in the kitchen according to firefighters are to never drink alcohol before frying good and to make sure materials aren’t hung up near heaters or cookers.
Phil Lancaster, director of Community Protection with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “This is a really important and high profile campaign as the majority of house fires across Cleveland start in the kitchen and by following a few simple tips, they could be prevented.
“We will be reaching out to all our communities across the area, but in particular, we will be targeting people who we feel are at highest risk and ensure we give them the right advice and support.
“You wouldn’t really think it but the kitchen is the most dangerous room in your home and it’s where the most fires occur – remember your kitchen can kill.”
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