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Take care with your pan this National Chip Week

13 February 2013

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is urging chip lovers to take care when they indulge in one of the nation’s favourite foods this National Chip Week (18 - 24 February 2013).

More than a quarter of the fires in the home attended by KFRS last year were cooking related*, many sparked by overheated chip pans. Leaving a chip pan unattended for any length of time can have disastrous results as the oil can easily overheat and ignite.

Last September, a mother and five children were rescued by a passer-by from their smoke-logged flat in Margate after a chip pan of oil overheated, setting light to the kitchen and trapping them in their home. The family and their rescuer had a lucky escape but needed hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.

In the last year, cooking fires attended by KFRS fire crews resulted in 26 casualties, one of which was seriously injured, showing just how dangerous these fires can be. A further 17 people needed first aid or precautionary checks at the scene.

Strood firefighters and community safety officers will be demonstrating the risks involved with cooking with oil and offering home fire safety advice to shoppers. They will be outside Morrisons Supermarket in Knight Road, Strood on Wednesday 20 February 2013 between 10am and 12.30pm.

“Chips are a popular choice for mealtimes,” said Stuart Skilton, KFRS Head of Community Safety. “But the smallest distraction when using a hot chip pan could lead to a fire in a matter of minutes. A simple switch from the pan to the oven or a temperature controlled deep-fat fryer can help prevent the worst.

“Oven chips are a far safer and healthier way to enjoy your favourite, but if you do choose to deep fat fry please don’t leave the pan unattended. If your pan does catch light, don’t throw water over it– get out, stay out and call 999.”

Follow these all-year-round fire safety tips to 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
  • Fit a smoke alarm on each floor of your home and test it weekly.

For further advice on fire safety visit the website at www.kent.fire-uk.org or contact the KFRS community safety team on 0800 923 7000.

For more information on National Chip Week: http://www.lovechips.co.uk/

*KFRS figures: 153 out of 576 accidental dwelling fires (ADFs) (26.6%) were cooking related during 2012 (1 Jan – 31 Dec). Out of the 153 cooking ADFs 39 were recorded with a main cause of “Cooking – chip pan/deep fat fryer”.

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