Bake Off contestant Matt Riley fronts ‘Watch What You Heat’ campaign

With around half of all domestic fires in England caused by cooking appliances, charity Electrical Safety First has launched a fire safety campaign fronted by Mat Riley, a 2015 contestant on BBC1’s ‘The Great British Bake Off’(and firefighter).

As the capital marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London – which began in a baker’s kitchen, lasted for four days and destroyed more than 13,000 homes – research by the charity has found that more than a million people have called 999 to deal with a kitchen fire.

Electrical Safety First director general Phil Buckle said: “Like that fateful fire of 1666, many kitchen fires  arise from human error – from a chip pan fire getting out of control to using a microwave incorrectly, or leaving the oven on.”

In fact, cooking appliances cause almost half of all domestic fires in England, according to Home Office statistics from April 2014 to March 2015.

Research conducted across the UK by Censuswide, based on the responses of 2,002 adults interviewed between August 10 And August 15, found that: one in six quizzed said they have cooked when drunk (increasing to almost a quarter for 25-34 year olds); over a third (36%) have been distracted while cooking by a phone, a person, or the TV; while an estimated 2.5 million have fallen asleep while food is cooking in the oven. And almost a third (31%) admitted to leaving a hob or oven switched on after use.

The study also revealed that people did not know what to do in the event of a kitchen fire.  Almost a third (30.8%) thought it was safe to extinguish a chip pan fire with water and one in 12 (8.8%) said that they would throw water on a frying pan if it caught fire.

Electrical Safety First has produced a series of short videos to illustrate the risks associated with cooking – including one in which Mat offers his recipe commemorating the Great Fire of London and includes his own electrical safety tips for bakers. You can find out more at:


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