National Chip Week
More than half of all accidental dwelling fires in Herefordshire and Worcestershire last year (see note below) started in the kitchen, but while only 20 of these accidental fires were sparked by overheated chip pans, the resulting 17 casualties show how dangerous these fires can be.
Leaving a chip pan unattended for any length of time can have disastrous results as the oil can easily overheat and ignite. A simple switch from the pan to the oven or a temperature controlled deep-fat fryer can help prevent the worst.
"From the chip shop to the kitchen table, chips will quite rightly be on the menu this week," says Station Commander Grant Wills from HWFRS. "But the smallest distraction when using a hot chip pan could lead to a fire in a matter of moments. Oven chips are a safer and healthier option, but if you do choose to deep fat fry, please don't leave the pan unattended. And if your pan should catch light, never throw water over it - instead, get out, stay out and call 999."
If you do choose to deep fat fry your chips, these all-year-round fire safety tips could help reduce the risk:
• Don't overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one-third full.
• Be careful that it doesn't overheat - hot oil can catch fire easily.
• Use a thermostat-controlled deep-fat fryer, which will make sure the fat doesn't get too hot.
• Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
• Don't cook after drinking alcohol.
• In the event of a fire, have an escape route 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.
For further advice on fire safety visit www.facebook.com/firekills or contact HWFRS's Community Safety department on 0800 032 1155. For more information on National Chip Week, visit www.lovechips.co.uk
NOTE: HWFRS was called to 401 accidental dwelling fires in 2011, with 222 of these (equivalent to 55%) having started in the kitchen.