STUDENTS were warned of the dangers of kitchen-related fires as a campaign was launched to put a halt to alarming statistics.
During the three-year period between January 2009 and December 2011 Cleveland Fire Brigade raced to 102 fires in Hartlepool homes – 53 of which started in the kitchen.
The causes of the fires varied with 31 starting due to food being cooked unattended, six fires starting from a chip pan, seven from radiated heat, five appliance-related and four being caused by something other than those listed.
In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of fires starting in the kitchen, Cleveland Fire Brigade launched Kitchen Safety Week.
Firefighters spent the day at Hartlepool College of Further Education yesterday where they carried out chip pan demonstrations and beamed a safety DVD on large screens around the building.
Fire chiefs chose the college as a venue to launch the campaign because they say it’s really important to get into safe cooking habits as early as possible.
Phil Lancaster, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s director of community protection, said: “The statistics are very clear.
“Over half of house fires start in the kitchen and of those fires almost two-thirds are caused by people leaving cooking unattended or using old-fashioned chip pans.
“This demonstrates that the kitchen is the biggest fire risk in the home and during the week we’ll be involved in a number of initiatives to help people stay safe.”
The week-long campaign which will last until this Sunday will also include competitions, the handing out of leaflets and radio advertising.
For free home fire safety visits call (01429) 874063.
People can also access an interactive kitchen safety house by visiting www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/kitchen.