Pancake day: stay safe this Shrove Tuesday

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to take care when frying tonight for Shrove Tuesday.

Kitchens and cooking are one of the main causes of fires in the home. Between April 2009 and March 2011 784 accidental house fires started in the kitchen and 425 of these were caused by cooking.

Assistant divisional officer Chris Noakes said: “Shrove Tuesday is a night when thousands of homes across Essex get their frying pans out and treat themselves to pancakes.

“Frying is a major cause of house fires in the county and we are warning people to take care when they are making their pancakes.

“The most important thing is to make sure that you do not leave the pan unattended or put it back on the hot stove while you eat your pancake. When you have finished cooking make sure that all appliances are turned off.

“If the pan does catch light do not try to move it and under no circumstances throw water on it because that will make the fire flare up and only make matters worse.

“Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so and then get out and call 999.”

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A working smoke alarm will greatly increase your chances of escaping unharmed. Have a plan and follow it - know exactly which way you will leave the house, and know where you will go.

Stay alive, stay safe, and make sure the alarm works 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