BARNSLEY firefighters are urging people to stop leaving their cooking unattended in a bid to crack down on house fires across the borough.
New figures, released by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, show that half of all house fires across South Yorkshire last year started in the kitchen.
The figures also show that the majority of these fires could be prevented and start when people leave pans on the hob or food in the oven.
The service is now appealing to people across Barnsley to ‘stand by your pan’ to avoid a kitchen fire disaster.
As part of the campaign, officers are also asking people not to cook after consuming alcohol and, instead, get a takeaway.
“Public awareness and safety around house fires has increased dramatically in recent years but one bad habit we haven’t quite kicked, yet, is leaving cooking unattended,” said Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the joint police and fire community safety team.
“Pretty much every kitchen fire we attend originates from an oven or hob and, generally, the fires have started because something has been left on.
“Examples range from a cooker being left to pre-heat to somebody falling asleep whilst their food is cooking and, whilst we know it’s not usually intentional, fire happens fast.
“We don’t expect people to stare at their food whilst it cooks and clearly pre-heating an oven is fairly standard, this isn’t an issue.
“What’s an issue is where people leave the kitchen entirely and either forget that the cooker is on or get distracted with something else, such as the TV or having a quick shower.
“What’s also an issue is where people get in the kitchen and start cooking having had something to drink – this is never a good idea and often ends up in the worst kind of fires.”