Don’t Get Distracted While Cooking

A major cause of accidental house fires is getting distracted while cooking. To help reduce the number of cooking-related fires in Lancashire, we’re asking you to “stay there and cook it!”


Whether it’s a mobile phone, a knock on the front door, a misbehaving dog, or a child crying, there are many different things that can distract us while we’re cooking. But getting distracted can easily lead to a potentially deadly accidental house fire.

Around half of all accidental house fires that fire and rescue services respond to across the UK are cooking-related. Research shows that many cooking fires were caused by someone being distracted and taking their eyes off the food they’re cooking; in 2020, distraction was a factor in 36% of cooking fires. Last year, we responded to 119 cooking fires caused by the person cooking becoming distracted.

It Could Ruin Your DayKitchen fire

A fire can very quickly get out of hand. If the doorbell goes, or you need to leave the kitchen for any reason, remember to turn the hob or grill off. That way, if you get distracted, or you are out of the room for longer than expected, there is much less chance of a fire developing. If you are cooking something in the oven, try using a timer to remind you when it’s ready.

From January to December 2020, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was called to 386 cooking related accidental house fires. Encouragingly, however, we have seen a 3% decrease in cooking incidents compared to 2019.

We hope that if people follow the “Stay there and cook it!” message and remember distractions could be disastrous, this figure will reduce again for 2021.

Protect Yourself & Your Family

There are several simple things you can do to help reduce the risk of a cooking fire in your property:

  • Ensure your home has working smoke alarms.
  • Keep hobs and ovens clean and free from detritus.
  • Don’t use the grill as a storage area.
  • Set a timer when placing food in the oven.
  • Turn the hob and/or grill off if leaving it for any reason.
  • Be extra careful if wearing loose-fitting clothing when cooking.

These steps will help to reduce the likelihood of a fire. They will also make sure your next meal is more delicious! (Nobody wants burnt food for tea).

What to Do if you Have a Fire

Here is some advice that’s important to remember if you do have a fire in your home.

  • Get out. Stay out. Call us out via 999.
  • Leave the building immediately and do not reenter.
  • Do not attempt to tackle the fire yourself.
  • Close the kitchen door on your way out to help prevent the fire or smoke spreading.
  • Never throw water on an oil fire.
  • Shout for help to alert others.

If you can’t leave the building:

  • Stay low where the cleaner air is.
  • Try to block the bottom of the door with a blanket or other items to prevent smoke escaping.
  • Move to the window to let firefighters know your location.

Our data shows that cooking fires can happen to anyone, with at least one kitchen fire occurring every day in Lancashire. We want to see this significantly reduced and an end to injuries.


Useful links

These handy links provide extra information to help you stay safe when cooking and in your home.

For more information or advice, please contact Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service on 01772 862 545. Alternatively, fill in our contact form (opens in a new tab).