Stay safe this pancake day

With around 60% of accidental home fires starting in the kitchen, a stark warning has been issued by firefighters across the UK urging people to stay safe on Pancake Day.

pancake day stack

In 2017, London’s fire crews were called to 2,458 cooking-related fires, 248 of which resulted in injuries, and this year they are offering some simple advice in attempt to avoid kitchen catastrophes.

Charlie Pugsley, the Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “We all like to enjoy pancakes on Shrove Tuesday but cooking can quickly take a dangerous turn.

“It doesn’t take much to burn a pancake, so make sure you never leave your frying pan unattended.

“If the pan does catch fire, never tackle it yourself and don’t attempt to move it or throw water on it as it could create a fireball.

“The best thing you can do is leave the room, close the door, warn others in the property and call 999.”

London firefighters have already attended 210 cooking-related fires so far in 2018 which resulted in 26 injuries.

frying pan on fire

Unattended frying pans can catch fire easily.

Read how to keep yourself safe below with the London Fire Brigade’s tips to preventing cooking fires.

How to prevent cooking fires

  • Avoid leaving cooking unattended
  • Don’t cook if you are tired, having been drinking alcohol or taking medication which might make you drowsy
  • Take care not to lean over hot hobs and keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker and hob
  • Be careful to keep the over, hob, cook hood and grill clean to avoid a build-up of fat and grease, which could ignite and cause a fire
  • Use spark devices to light gas cookers – they are much safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from anything that can catch fire
  • Never put anything metal in the microwave
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony – burning or smouldering fuel can cause carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Supervise children and pets in the kitchen at all times and keep matches and saucepan handles out of reach

If a pan catches fire

  • Don’t tackle the fire yourself and don’t attempt to move the pan
  • Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball
  • Turn off the heat, if it is safe to do so
  • Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call 999

Deep fat fryer safety

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it can easily overheat and catch fire
  • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil
  • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil
  • If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
  • Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible – they have built-in thermostats to control the temperature

Is your skin cream a fire hazard?

Skin creams containing paraffin could be related to hundreds of fire-related deaths, a senior
firefighter has suggested.

skin cream in pot

 Chris Bell, watch commander of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, says that paraffin-based creams used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can become highly flammable when they soak into fabrics and come into contact with cigarettes or naked flames.

“Hundreds of thousands of people use them, we’re not sure how many fire deaths might have occurred but it could be into the hundreds,” he said, speaking to BBC 5 Live.

“People are using paraffin-based skin products to treat eczema and psoriasis and various other skin creams, putting it all over their bodies and different parts of themselves – treating themselves for those different skin conditions.”

person applying skin cream

Mr Bell explains that the cream can get into fabrics, clothing, bandages and bedclothes, and become highly flammable, especially if these items are not washed regularly and the product builds up.

“The creams are safe to use in their own right, but if that person is exposed to a naked flame or some other heat source, they can go up,” he says.

The findings come after an investigation by the radio station and Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire which discovered that just seven of 38 paraffin-based products licensed in the UK had warnings on their packaging.

According to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, users should not smoke, use naked flames or go near anything which may cause a fire while the creams are in contact with dressings or clothing.

Its advice states “patients’ clothing and bedding should be changed regularly – preferably daily – because emollients soak into fabric and can become a fire hazard”.

Faulty appliances cause 13 fires every day

Last year saw 4,732 fires caused by electrical products – that’s a staggering 13 fires every day. These latest figures, from charity Electrical Safety First, warns that millions of faulty appliances across the UK, that are already known to be dangerous, are still being used in homes.

Faulty appliance - fridge

Many manufacturers still use plastic backing on their appliances.

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London last year concerns about electrical appliances and their safety have spiralled. The tragic blaze, which claimed the lives of 71 victims, was triggered by a faulty fridge freezer.

Despite growing pressure to improve the product recall system the figures have revealed that fewer than one in five faulty appliances subject to a recall are ever repaired or disposed of, meaning that the majority of them are still being used.

A spokesman for Electrical Safety First said: ‘Since 2007, there have been 516 recall notices issued for electrical goods in the UK. Given that only 10 to 20 per cent of faulty goods are ever returned or repaired, there are potentially millions of dangerous appliances still in people’s homes.’

MPs and consumer groups are calling on manufacturers to take urgent action to ensure their products are safe, with particular emphasis on Whirlpool, whose tumble dryers – sold under the Indesit, Hotpoint and Creda brands – have been responsible for 750 fires alone in the past decade.

Electrical Safety First is calling on buyers of new household appliances to register their name and address with the product’s manufacturer, which will make it much easier to contact them if a fault is discovered.

There is also increasing alarm from consumer watchdog Which?, fire chiefs and councils alike regarding the use of cheap flammable plastic panels on the rear of fridges. As many as 46% of appliances on the market have these panels, including brands such as Smeg, Zanussi and Hoover, with tests showing that electrical fires in these fridges and freezers can take hold and spread much more quickly than those with non-flammable metal back panels.

Online product checker

Have your appliances been recalled? Simply type in your product manufacturer to search through a list of items.

*Widget from Electrical Safety First

Register your appliances here.

*Source: Electrical Safety First,

Protect your property with SelectaDNA

Protect your valuables from theft with SelectaDNA – a police approved DNA property marking product proven to reduce burglaries by up to 83%.*selectadna kit

Protecting your home against burglary is something that most of us will agree is a good idea. But how many of us protect our household contents?

Whilst most of us will have household insurance, this will only deal with the aftermath of a burglary, when our belongings have gone and cannot be recovered. But there are measures that can be taken to increase the chances of tracking down your precious items and getting them returned to you.

What is SelectaDNA marking?

SelectaDNA kits provide advanced forensic marking of your property. Each SelectaDNA kit contains a unique DNA code which you rub onto your belongings. This code allows police to identify and return your property, and it also allows them to link criminals to the crimes that they commit. Plus having your items marked with SelectaDNA is a huge deterrent to potential intruders.

Watch the video below to find out more about SelectDNA.

How SelectaDNA marking works

SelectaDNA property markers contain thousands of microdots which allow police to identify property at the scene in a matter of seconds. Thieves can no longer get away with possessing stolen property when confronted by Police.

UV tracers are incorporated in SelectaDNA to make it easy for police to find thieves who have been sprayed with SelectaDNA and property that has been marked.

SelectaDNA is tested to PAS 820 and its Grade A External ranking is the highest in the industry. Even when applied outdoors it will protect your property for at least five years.

selectadna logo

Secure database

SelectaDNA’s Secure Asset Register conforms to the highest global security and quality standards; ensuring that clients’ data is kept safe at all times.

Police from around the world have access to the database, allowing 24/7/365 searches when property is recovered or perpetrators apprehended.

How to use SelectaDNA

Step 1 – Use SelectaDNA to mark and protect your property.
Step 2 – Use window signs and stickers to show that your possessions are protected.
Step 3 – Register your unique DNA code on the SelectDNA secure database.

how selectadna marking works

Each SelectaDNA kit contains enough DNA to mark 50 items and the DNA distributed onto your items hss a five year durability.

*Police trial based on a 1,000 home crime reduction initiative in North Manchester, 2010-2011.

Fake phone chargers are fire hazard

Mobile phone chargers are a huge business, with approximately 1.8 million being bought online in the UK every year. But fake phone chargers are swamping the market and they are potentially very dangerous indeed.

Over the last four ears the UK has seen a six-fold increase in the number of counterfeit electrical goods seized, with the value of counterfeit goods seized by councils and the Border Control rising from just over £2.6 million in 2009 to more than £15.7 million in 2012. The most-seized items were fake phone chargers.

Unsafe charging devices are often made in China for as little as 3p per unit, which means poor quality components. Sometimes these products don’t even have safety features such as fuses.

fake phone charger


A genuine Apple charger contains more than 60 individual components, while a counterfeit contains an average of just 25.

Electrical Safety First, the UK’s electrical safety experts, tested a range of fake iPhone chargers and found that a staggering 98% had the potential to cause a fire or give an electric shock.

Protect yourself against purchasing a fake phone charger

• Look for a manufacturer’s brand name or logo, model and batch number.
• Check for a CE mark
• Check that the output voltage and current ratings marked on the charger and your electrical device are the same.
• Do not rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of safety – it’s simply a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the safety requirements of European law, but they can be easily forged.

*Source: Electrical Safety First

Crime rising as police hit record low

New figures show that crime is rising as recorded offences have increased by 14% whilst the number of police officers has plummeted to an all-time low.

Gun and knife crime are on the increase.

The finger of blame is pointing firmly at the Government as it is accused of “losing control in the fight against crime.”

A worrying surge in knife and gun incidents has seen the numbers increase to 5.3 million crimes across England and Wales in the year to September 2017. According to figures released on Thursday knife crime has risen by 21% and gun crime has seen a 20% increase.

There has also been a 32% increase in domestic burglary as well as a sharp rise in violent crimes, sexual offences and robbery.

Meanwhile, the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 930 in the past 12 months, to 121,929, the lowest level since comparable records began 22 years ago.

Take a look at our infographic highlighting the rising crime levels experience over the last 12 months.

See how you can protect your home with our full monitored security system.