Firefighters have launched a Ramadan safety campaign which will advise Muslims to take extra care whilst cooking and preparing food for iftar and suhoor.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) have begun delivering presentations to schools, mosques and madrassahs to raise awareness and to combat problems caused by a combination of tiredness and busy social schedules during Ramadan.
Nazreen Parvez, a mother of four from Bury, said to 5 Pillarz: “This is a great initiative and it has been successfully running for a few years now. Muslim women especially have a hectic routine throughout Ramadan, whether its work, looking after children, preparing food for iftar or suhoor and finding time for worship.”
LFRS spokesman Mark Hutton said: “It can be a very hectic time in a Muslim household. There can be many things happening at once in the kitchen, including children running around, pans of hot oil left unattended on the cooker and any number of other distractions.”
Given the reality of women being extra busy in the kitchen on top of their daily duties during Ramadan, 5 Pillarz spoke to Muslim housewives across the UK to get their views on this initiative and a general idea of how “hectic” the month really is for them.
Nezma Begum from Newcastle who works part-time and is a mother-of-three said: “There is no doubt that Muslim women do work harder in preparing food on top of their every day duties. But Alhamdulillah, this is something my mother and her mother had always managed to juggle. We enjoy the extra chores in pleasing our husbands, children and extended family by preparing nice food for them. It is a form of worship itself.”
Asma Mahmood from Bradford said: “All the extra cooking whilst fasting during long hot summer days can be very tiring and exhausting but this is something that we’re used to and actually look forward to. Whilst this initiative by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is very practical in raising awareness, the duties of a wife and a mother is to look after her house and most women have no qualms with that.”
Hafsa Khan from London who is a newlywed and works full time said: “In an ideal world, it would be great if our husbands, brothers, sons and fathers could help us in the kitchen more often especially during Ramadan when the women have to prepare food for extended family and friends as well.
“But Muslim men do acknowledge the hardship of their wives, daughters and mothers and it would be a total misunderstanding to think they don’t empathise or assist us. In many cases, the women go out of their own way to do excessive cooking even though their husbands, brothers or children advise them not to and to take it easy!”
LFRS said the danger is increased by the fact official statistics prove that smoke alarm ownership amongst Asian communities is 10 per cent lower than the national average, and according to recent government figures people are twice as likely to die in a house fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm.
The presentations cover general cooking safety guidelines, and also identify potential hazards including wearing loose clothing while cooking and taking extra care when cooking before sunrise when many people may be tired.
LFRS are also keen to remind the community that free home fire safety checks and smoke alarms are available.
County Councillor Jeff Sumner said: “As a member of the Fire Authority, I wish you and your families a safe and happy Ramadan.”