Firefighters in West Sussex are urging microwave users to ‘watch what they heat’ in a bid to drive down the number of cooking related fires and encourage safer heating habits.
In the last 12 months (January 1 2015 - December 31 2015) firefighters across West Sussex have been called to 28 fires involving microwaves, often because recommended heating times have been accidentally exceeded or because the items weren’t suitable for the microwave.
To help raise awareness of the dangers of overheating firefighters have filmed a controlled experiment in which a microwavable pudding was set to heat for 6 minutes rather than the recommended 60 seconds.
The short film clip, which can be viewed here, shows that after just 3 minutes of heating smoke is beginning to pour from the microwave.
Russell Moore, Crew Manager at Bognor Fire Station who carried out the experiment, said:
“Fire crews in West Sussex have been called to microwave fires started by everything from wheat bags to puddings, pies, chips, bread and even a toad in the hole! It sounds comical but not taking care with your microwave cooking can have very serious consequences and put lives at risk.
“The experiment demonstrated how quickly your home could become filled with toxic smoke if items are overheated. One common problem is people miscalculating or incorrectly imputing heating times on their microwaves – it’s an easy mistake to make to press one button too many on a digital timer or get seconds confused with minutes.
“The best way to reduce the risk of a fire in your microwave is to ensure you follow the recommended heating instructions, double check your timings and keep an eye on what you are cooking.”
Firefighters will be dropping in to Age UK’s Laburnum Centre on Lyon Street in Bognor next Thursday (February 4) between 11am and 2.30pm to chat to people about how to stay fire safe in the kitchen and raise awareness of the benefits of the fire service’s Home Safety Visits.
For more kitchen safety advice call 0845 872 9719