94% of appliance misuse fires occur in the kitchen, says ESF

Electrical Safety First has analysed Home Office data on domestic fires and found that 15 a day involve food and the misuse of electrical appliances.

The charity said there were 7,067 accidental fires in the UK as a result of the misuse of electrical appliances. More than three-quarters of these were caused by the misuse of cooking appliances.

The data showed that cookers and ovens were the most likely appliances to be involved in these accidental fires, causing almost 12 fires a day. Grills and toasters contributed three a day, microwaves two-and-a-half a day and rings/hotplates two a day.

The charity highlighted that consumer behaviour needed to improve.

ESF carried out its own research into consumer behaviour and found that one in three said they had had an electrical accident in the kitchen. Worryingly, two in five Brits admitted leaving their tumble-dryer running while they were out of the house, and three-in-10 left them on while asleep.

Sleepy-headed consumers also admitted to leaving food cooking in their ovens, microwaves or hobs while they slept.

Consumers further shocked the ESF with the revelation that almost a fifth (17%) had not cleaned their ovens in over a year, which the charity pointed out posed a significant fire risk.

In a bid to better inform consumers of the dangers of appliance abuse, ESF teamed up with celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager to produce a series of videos giving “kitchen safety etiquette tips”. These also offer advice on the perils of overloading electrical sockets, which 60% of Brits admitted not knowing how to check for.

Phil Buckle,
Phil Buckle, chief executive, Electrical Safety First

Commenting on the findings, ESF chief executive Phil Buckle said: “We’re well aware that the kitchen represents the most dangerous room in the home from an electrical safety perspective, due to the mixture of water, hot surfaces, flexible cables and electricity that can generally be found there.

“However, the worryingly high number of fires being caused where food is involved and as a direct result of the misuse of appliances in the kitchen shows that the public is in need of better education on electrical safety while cooking. I urge anyone who regularly uses electrical kitchen appliances to head to the Electrical Safety First website and make sure they’re clued up on the simple steps they need to take to ensure they’re being safe.

“We hope the videos and recipes we’ve produced with Rosemary Shrager provide a fun and engaging way to learn more about a serious subject.”

Shrager added: “Looking at the amount of fires being caused, it’s clear there is an enormous problem when it comes to Brits’ approach to kitchen safety, which is causing far too many mishaps. As an experienced chef who runs her own cookery school, I know the importance of following precautions when working with electricity, and very much support Electrical Safety First’s efforts to get the message out there.”

She concluded: “In fact, I’d like to see electrical safety added to the kitchen and dinner table etiquette we’re always told to follow – and I hope the videos and recipes we’ve put together get these across. Consumers should head to the Electrical Safety First Website to take a look.”

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