Too busy watching cooking shows to watch the cooking?

22 June 2010

SA households could be too relaxed when it comes to home fire safety with more than 65 per cent stepping away from a hot stove to watch TV and around half surfing the net, doing housework or helping the kids with homework, according to new research by SGIC*.

With house fires peaking in winter, SGIC is reminding SA households where blazes commonly start and how easily they can spread.

SGIC spokesperson Emily Gatt said claims data showed almost 30 per cent of SA house fires started in the kitchen, most as a result of cooking left unattended**.

“Kitchen fires have the potential to spread quickly, often jumping to curtains or cupboards in a matter of seconds.

“Year on year we find people are still leaving cooking unattended. This year we looked closer at what distracts us from the stove and found we’re either getting caught up in other things because we’re busy or simply being too relaxed,” Ms Gatt said.

An SGIC survey of more than 500 SA residents found that in addition to cooking dinner on the stove:

  • more than 65 per cent step away to watch TV;
  • around 50 per cent squeeze in some housework;
  • more than 50 per cent surf the Internet; and
  • over 45 per cent help their kids with homework.

To help prevent and be ready for a home fire, SGIC recommends households:

  • stay in the kitchen while cooking is on the stove;
  • install a smoke alarm(s) and test monthly. If you have battery-operated alarms, change the batteries at least once a year;
  • have an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in the house knows and practices it;
  • keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket at hand near the kitchen;
  • never use water to put out a cooking oil fire – water will only ignite the oil:
  • don’t key-lock deadlocks on doors when at home in case you need to leave in a hurry;
  • call 000 immediately if a fire does break out that cannot be safely and quickly controlled.

*Survey of more than 2500 Australian households by Pure Profile Research for SGIC in February 2010.

**SGIC home claims data 2005-09.