As Valentine's Day approaches, the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is warning couples to be cautious in the kitchen to avoid a romantic evening turning into a disaster.

With many preparing candlelit dinners, HWFRS Head of Prevention, Emma Roberts, says kitchens can be dangerous if proper precautions aren't taken. In the last 10 years 2,036 kitchen fires were reported in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

But with a few simple steps, this doesn't have to be the case. Roberts urges people to stay in the kitchen while cooking, avoid drinking alcohol while cooking, and take pans off the heat if they need to leave the kitchen. She also warns against leaving candles unattended and to always make sure they are fully extinguished.

To avoid a fire, follow these tips:

  1. Don't cook while or after drinking alcohol.
  2. Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  3. Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  4. Double check the hob and oven are off when you’ve finished cooking.
  5. Keep candles away from combustible materials such as curtains, Valentine cards, and napkins.
  6. Use a fireproof candle holder.
  7. Make sure candles are fully extinguished before going to bed.
  8. Ensure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them weekly.
  9. Don't take risks by tackling a fire. Have an escape plan in place and Get Out, Stay Out and Call 999.

Make your Valentine's Day unforgettable for all the right reasons. Check out the "Flee - Hot Date" video, produced by FireAngel in partnership with London Fire Brigade, for a hilarious but serious message on kitchen safety. And for more safety advice, visit and follow @HWFire on Twitter.