WITH restaurants, café and pubs closed during the current lockdown and people spending more time in the kitchen, the welsh fire and rescue services are urging them to take extra care whilst they are cooking.

During this unprecedented time, the risk of a kitchen fire is heightened as many people are spending more time at home - and just one distraction is all it takes to create a recipe for disaster, says the service.

The message from firefighters is that all residents have a part to play in reducing the demand on their services. To highlight this, fire and rescue services are launching the #Just1 campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of kitchen fires.

Across Wales, over 40 per cent of all fires in the home start in the kitchen – showing just how easy preparing a meal can turn to disaster.

But during the recent lockdown crisis, that figure has risen even higher as people have been spending more cooking in the kitchen.

Will Bowen, Home Safety Manager at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, explains: “With everyone confined to their homes during lockdown, many of us have been getting creative with how we pass the time and that has included comforting ourselves by cooking more, sharing recipes and posting photos of our creations on social media.

“This is a great way of keeping in touch with family and friends, but we have noticed an associated increase in kitchen fires.

“Unfortunately, we are all too aware that just one distraction whilst cooking can lead to disaster. It sounds obvious but getting distracted is one of the main causes of a kitchen fire, whether it’s a distraction from our children or simply using a mobile phone or tablet.

“It’s startling that 40 per cent of all the fires we attend to start in the kitchen – however most of these could be prevented by taking some very simple precautions."

Following an analysis of kitchen fires since the start of lockdown, being distracted was the biggest human factor, with falling asleep coming a close second. Unattended cooking can result in a smoke logged kitchen, damaged equipment or in the worst cases, serious injury.

Other causes of kitchen fire involved materials left on the hob or too near the cooker, dirty ovens or overheated chip pans.