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Great British Bake Off sparks rise in cooking-related fire claims

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Budding bakers inspired by the Great British Bake Off programme have caused a surge in cooking-related fires and accidental damage claims, according to an insurer.

Insurer Zurich has revealed a 114% increase in claims for cooking-related fires in UK homes during the time period that the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) programme airs.

Analysis of claims also found a 40% increase in accidental kitchen damage while the show is on TV – from ruined worktops to smashed hobs.

The average claim was for £11,000 for cooking blazes while kitchen mishaps came to £1,700.

Phil Ost, Zurich home insurance expert, said: “The Great British Bake Off is an institution, it has created a nation of bakers and this should not be discouraged. That said, the kitchen can sometimes be a recipe for disaster and, for aspiring pastry chefs, it’s vital to ensure you have the right cover and protect your kitchen against potential damage. At the end of the day, a soggy bottom is better than a burnt one and a lighter wallet.”

Today is the GBBO final and the London Fire Brigade is warning people to take extra care as figures reveal that most house fires start in the kitchen.

According to the Brigade, every day a Londoner suffers an injury such as smoke inhalation or burns following a house fire with around two per month suffering severe burns.

London Fire Brigade Firefighter and GBBO 2015 finalist, Mat Riley, said: “One smoke alarm in a hallway is not enough; smoke alarms save lives but they’re too sensitive for your kitchen. We recommend fitting a heat detector in the kitchen as these are designed to go off when fire temperatures are reached.

“Smoke alarms should be fitted in rooms where you leave electrical equipment running like satellite boxes, computers or heaters; any room where you smoke, and anywhere you charge your mobile or laptop.

“It is vital that people regularly test their smoke alarms, at least once a month. If you discover a fire, make sure you alert everyone in your household, close any doors behind you and make your way out. Closing your doors helps to slow the spread of fire and smoke through the property.”

Zurich’s top tips to stay safe in the kitchen

  • Never leave your cooking unattended
  • Check that the hob and cooker are fully turned off after use
  • Keep tea towels and cloths a safe distance away from the cooker
  • Clean off fat and grease from the hob as they can spark a fire
  • If a pan catches fire: don’t try and tackle the blaze yourself or move the pan; turn off the heat if you can do so safely; never throw water on the fire– this can make it bigger; if you have a safety fire blanket use this to keep the fire under control; get everyone out of the room, shut the door and call 999.

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