Unattended cooking is the biggest cause of house fires in New Zealand – a fire risk that is higher than ever under the COVID-19 lockdown.

Celebrity chef Josh Emett is joining forces with Fire and Emergency NZ to remind people about keeping fire safe in the kitchen.

‘We’re all confined to our houses, many of us juggling working from home, looking after the kids as well as running the household, but however busy it gets – never leave cooking unattended. If you need to leave the room, even for a minute, turn the stove off,’ Josh says.

‘As a professional chef I know a clean kitchen is not only hygienic – it is a lot safer. Regularly clean your stove, range hood and filters. Built-up oil and burnt food can cause fires. Filters can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
‘Take care too while you’re cooking. Keep curtains, tea towels, oven mitts and anything flammable well away from the cooking area. Wear tight fitting sleeves or roll them up when you are cooking,’ he says.

‘And save that bevvy for dinner Don’t drink while you’re cooking, especially not if you’re frying.’

Fire and Emergency NZ National Advisor on Fire Risk Reduction Pete Gallagher says fire crews have responded to several house fires around the country in the last couple of weeks that were cooking related.

‘If there’s a fire on your stove, try (if you can), to turn the power or gas off at the mains,’ he says.

‘Never throw water on a frying pan that’s on fire It could save your life.