Shrove Tuesday (1st March) marks the beginning of Lent, when people around the country fire up their cookers to make pancakes, before the start of the traditional 40 day fast.

But when you are distracted by the tantalising image of a delicious, warm pancake sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar, fire safety may not be at the top of the recipe!

However, fat and chip pan fires can be devastating, with a very high proportion of fires resulting in injuries. In the ten year period from 1 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2021 in our two counties, 2,377 fires started in the kitchen and there were sadly five fatalities.

 

Emma Roberts, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, said: “Making pancakes can be lots of fun for the whole family and they’re delicious.

“However, over half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen so please take care, especially when cooking with hot oil. Don’t let distractions like phone calls or family take your mind off things, and whatever else is going on, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.”

“Distraction while cooking is a main cause of fire call-outs right across the country.”

 

Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service offers the following safety tips:

When using a frying pan or cooking with hot oil, remember:

  • Never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on
  • Do NOT move the pan if it is on fire!

If the pan does catch fire:

  • Don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so. Never throw water over it.
  • Don’t tackle the fire yourself.
  • GET OUT, STAY OUT, CALL 999.

 

Emma added:

“When you’ve finished the pancakes, check that all cooking appliances are turned off and the cooking area is clear.

“Never leave a child alone with a hot hob, and help keep them safe by moving matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.

“Don’t forget to check your smoke alarms before the pancake fun starts. Working smoke alarms will greatly increase your chances of escaping unharmed. Have an escape plan and follow it - know exactly which way you will leave your home and know where you will go.”

So stay alive, stay safe, and make sure your smoke alarms work properly.

  • Test your smoke alarms every week
  • Change the battery every year (unless it's a 10-year alarm)
  • Clean it out properly at least twice every year, by vacuuming the inside.

 

A wealth of cooking safety advice can be found here. As well as other guidance at https://www.hwfire.org.uk/safety-and-advice/home-safety/ and www.fireengland.uk/fire-safety.

Have a safe and fun Pancake Day!