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Welcome from the Chief

Think safe, cook safe!

England and Wales kicked off the RBS Six Nations tournament with a bang, and the next few weeks will undoubtedly be just as dramatic, and I hope to see the drama stay on the field.

Over half of all fires we attend in the home originate in the kitchen and are still a big threat, and not only do we have the Six Nations in the coming weeks, we also have Pancake Day along with National Chip Week - all of which will see more people busy in the kitchen and at an increased risk to kitchen safety.

I'm sure plenty of you will be enjoying a drink at home or in the pub during the tournament, and perhaps you'll crave a snack - please don't drink and cook. It can be so easy to forget that you've left food frying on the hob, or something in the cooker. One important mantra to repeat when cooking is 'Stand by your pan!' - if you leave the room, remove the pan from the heat.

Within minutes a fire can start and spread from a small blaze to a life threatening one. When you have finished cooking, make sure that all the appliances are turned off and the cooking area is clear. If the worst happens and the pan catches fire, do not attempt to move it.

Don't take any risks - just turn off the heat if it is safe to do so and get out, stay out and call 999.  As with all fire situations, our advice is to never try to tackle it yourself.

A working smoke alarm will greatly increase your chances of escaping unharmed from a fire in your home.  Have a plan and follow it - know exactly which way you will leave the house, and know where you will go. Test your smoke alarms every week, change the battery every year (unless it's a 10 year alarm) and clean it out properly at least twice every year, by vacuuming the inside.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks, where we will visit your home, provide fire safety hints and tips, help you to formulate a fire escape plan and fit new alarms - all free of charge. This service is available to all residents in North Wales.

To register for a free home fire safety check, please call the free 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234,  or visit www.freesmokealarm.co.uk

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