London Fire Brigade

Celebrate Pancake Day without disaster with the Brigade’s cooking safety tips

13 February 2018

Whether you like them with lemon or chocolate, just don’t ‘flipping’ burn them – that’s the advice from London Fire Brigade this Pancake Day as new figures show firefighters were called to six cooking-related fires every day last year.

Shrove Tuesday has ‘creped’ up on us again and while Londoners are encouraged to test their ‘tossing’ skills, the Brigade is urging people to take care while cooking and is reminding people that around 60 per cent of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen.

Last year, London’s fire crews were called to 2,458 cooking-related fires, 248 of which resulted in injuries, but there is some simple advice you can follow to ensure you keep yourselves safe and your celebrations don’t ‘fall flat’.

The Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “We all like to enjoy pancakes on Shrove Tuesday but cooking can quickly take a dangerous turn.

“It doesn’t take much to burn a pancake, so make sure you never leave your frying pan unattended.

“If the pan does catch fire, never tackle it yourself and don’t attempt to move it or throw water on it as it could create a fireball.

“The best thing you can do is leave the room, close the door, warn others in the property and call 999.”

Firefighters have already been called to 210 cooking-related fires in 2018 which resulted in 26 injuries.

How to prevent cooking fires

  • Avoid leaving cooking unattended
  • Don’t cook if you are tired, having been drinking alcohol or taking medication which might make you drowsy
  • Take care not to lean over hot hobs and keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker and hob
  • Be careful to keep the over, hob, cook hood and grill clean to avoid a build up of fat and grease, which could ignite and cause a fire
  • Use spark devices to light gas cookers – they are much safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from anything that can catch fire
  • Never put anything metal in the microwave
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony – burning or smouldering fuel can cause carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Supervise children and pets in the kitchen at all times and keep matches and saucepan handles out of reach

If a pan catches fire

  • Don’t tackle the fire yourself and don’t attempt to move the pan
  • Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball
  • Turn off the heat, if it is safe to do so
  • Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call 999

Deep fat fryer

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it can easily overheat and catch fire
  • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil
  • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil
  • If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
  • Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible – they have built-in thermostats to control the temperature