Fire - are you at risk?

December 9th, 2015 by The Mag Editor in Features

Just one brief distraction could change your life forever. Fires can devastate homes, destroy personal belongings and, most tragically, cause death. This may seem like a grim way to start an article, but read on – it could save your life.

Most fires in the UK are accidental, and one of the biggest causes is cooking. At Home Group, we’ve heard reports of clients falling asleep while cooking, being distracted by phone calls and losing concentration due to alcohol consumption.

Cooking under the influence

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service shared this story about a Gateshead man who is lucky to be alive after his chip pan caught fire as he lay fast asleep in bed.

He put some sausages and chips into a pan, then fell into a deep sleep after taking medication and drinking alcohol. The thick black smoke from the fire activated his smoke alarm, which notified the Care Call Centre who tried to contact the occupier through his intercom, but there was no response. The operator then contacted Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and fire crews were dispatched immediately.

The occupier said: “I began to stir when I heard the lady’s voice through the intercom system. I could see thick black smoke and I began to choke. I remember putting the chip pan on then I went for a lie down. The next thing I knew, firefighters were in my bedroom.”

A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “The gentleman is alive today because he had a working smoke alarm.

“Historically, from the incidents we have attended, it is clear that people with alcohol or drug related problems, smokers, people with mobility issues, those with mental ill health and dementia sufferers are more likely to have a fire and are most vulnerable when it occurs.”

Preventing a kitchen fire

As part of our Home Safe and Sound campaign, we want to share some advice to help keep you, and other residents in your property, safe.

•    Never leave cooking unattended – even for a short time
•    Remember to turn your oven and hob off when you have finished using them
•    Avoid cooking if you have been drinking, are tired or have been taking medication that may make you drowsy
•    Be careful about leaving items on top of hobs – flammable objects such as pizza boxes could easily ignite
•    If you’re unsure about how to use an appliance, speak to your project worker
•    Clean pans and trays regularly – do not allow fat to build up as this can catch fire.
•    Use a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer or cook oven chips – both options are safer than using a chip pan.

And finally, if you see or suspect a fire, never try to tackle it yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.

Visit for more information and advice to stay safe, including what to do in the event of a fire.