It’s National Chip Week and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is working with the Fire Kills campaign to highlight the potential dangers lurking in every kitchen.
Last year, over half of all accidental fires in the home in England were linked to cooking. Most of these were caused by deep fat frying, and over 3,000 people are injured in these kinds of fires each year.
Watch Manager Neil Chamberlain, from Wiltshire FRS’s community safety department, said: “When you’re deep frying, you’re heating a large volume of oil to extremely high temperatures. The oil can cause terrible burns, and it can go up in flames. In fact, it’s an ideal fuel for a fire and, as such, it’s difficult to put out.
"Homemade chips are great, but the safest way to deep fry is to use a thermostat controlled deep fat fryer rather than a chip pan, as the thermostat stops it from overheating – or, even better, use oven chips!”
Top tips for cooking are:
· Never fill a chip pan more than a third full of oil.
· Take care when cooking with oil – it sets alight easily.
· If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
· Ideally, use a thermostat controlled deep fat fryer, which can’t overheat.
· Don’t leave cooking unattended – a forgotten pan can lead to disaster.
· If you’ve consumed alcohol, don’t be tempted to cook with a chip pan.
· Avoid children being in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob.
If a pan does catch fire:
· Don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so but don’t try and move the pan.
· NEVER throw water over the fire – that will cause a fireball.
· Don’t tackle the fire yourself – get out, stay out, call 999.
You should always have working smoke alarms fitted in your home – and they should be tested every week. The Service also recommends that homes should have carbon monoxide alarms installed as well.
To see if you qualify for a free home fire safety check from Wiltshire FRS, call 0800 389 7849 or visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk