Fire chiefs have issued a fresh warning about the importance of having working smoke alarms fitted in homes.

It comes after a blaze at a property in the east of the county – the kitchen was severely damaged by fire and the rest of the property was affected by smoke – and the occupant had to be taken to hospital after breathing in smoke.

Station Manager for Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service Graham Kewley said: “The property didn’t have working smoke alarms, so the occupier was fortunate that this fire broke out while she was still awake, rather than later at night when she may well have been upstairs and asleep. Had that been the case, the outcome could have been far worse. Every home should have a working smoke alarm on every level, and these should be tested regularly.”

He added: “In this instance, while the fire damage was contained to the kitchen, the rest of the property was badly affected by smoke, which shows the importance of keeping internal doors closed. Nearly two thirds of all accidental dwelling fires in Dorset and Wiltshire last year started in the kitchen, and this incident shows just how easy it is for accidents to happen.”

The brigade has the following kitchen safety advice:

* Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk

* If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999

* Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking

* Keep tea towels, cloths and anything flammable away from the cooker and hob

* Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire

* Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe

* Take care with electrics – leads and appliances away from water and place grills and away from curtains and kitchen rolls

* Keep your equipment clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire

* Don’t cook after drinking alcohol

* Hot oil can catch fire easily – be careful that it doesn’t overheat

* Never throw water on a chip pan fire

* In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place

* Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999

* Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly

The service also provides free Safe and Well visits where a member of staff will come to your home and provide you with bespoke home safety advice, covering areas such as the use of candles, cooking, electric blankets, overloading sockets, chimneys, low energy light bulbs and much more. They even fit or replace smoke alarms, if appropriate.

To request a free visit, call 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safety for more information and advice.