VIDEO: ‘Watch what you heat’ say firefighters

What was left of the microwave pudding after the experiment
What was left of the microwave pudding after the experiment

Firefighters are urging microwave users to watch what they heat in a bid to drive down the number of cooking-related fires.

Last year, firefighters across West Sussex were called to 28 fires involving microwaves, often because recommended heating times had been accidentally exceeded or because items weren’t suitable for microwaves.

To help raise awareness of the dangers of overheating, firefighters have filmed a controlled experiment in which a microwavable pudding was set to heat for six minutes rather than the recommended 60 seconds. The short film clip, which can be viewed via the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service YouTube channel, shows that after just three minutes of heating smoke begins to pour from the microwave.

Russell Moore, crew manager at Bognor Regis fire station, which carried out the experiment, said: “Fire crews in West Sussex have been called to microwave fires started by everything from wheat bags to puddings, pies, chips, bread and even a toad in the hole.

“It sounds comical but not taking care with your microwave cooking can have very serious consequences and put lives at risk.

“The experiment demonstrated how quickly your home could become filled with toxic smoke if items are overheated.

“One common problem is people miscalculating or incorrectly imputing heating times on their microwaves – it’s an easy mistake to make to press one button too many on a digital timer or get seconds confused with minutes.

“The best way to reduce the risk of a fire in your microwave is to ensure you follow the recommended heating instructions, double-
check your timings and keep an eye on what you 
are cooking.”

For more kitchen safety advice call 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire