HGOUSEHOLDERS are being warned of the dangers of not taking care when cooking after several kitchen fires in Wirral.

Figures out this week show there were 16 such fires in June and the public are warned to take extra care when preparing food.

Throughout August the national Fire Kills Campaign will highlight cooking fire safety, an issue supported by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

Jenny Welsh, district fire prevention manager for Wirral, said: "It is important to take extra care when cooking and more than half of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen.

"There are very simple steps people can follow to stay safe when cooking and prevent a fire.

"People should also ensure they use electrical appliances appropriately in the kitchen.

"Kitchen fires can be devastating but they can easily be prevented."

Group manager Paul Murphy, Wirral district manager, added: "A working smoke alarm can give an early warning to a fire and can provide valuable seconds to escape a house fire.

"People are urged to have smoke alarms fitted on each floor of their property and to test them every week.

"Residents are also advised to have an escape plan in place in the event of a fire.

"If a pan catches fire, people should not take any risks.

"They should turn off the heat if it is safe to do so and if possible close the kitchen door. People should never throw water over a pan fire.

“People should not attempt to tackle a fire but should get out, stay out and call 999."