National Chip Week 15Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is using this year’s National Chip Week [16–22 Feb] to warn people of the continued dangers of using traditional chip pans despite their declining use.

Chip pans remain one of the most common causes of fire in the home. In 2014 NIFRS attended 86 accidental dwelling fires caused by chip pans, which is a slight decrease on the 2013 figure of 92 accidental dwelling fires caused by chip pans. However, one person also lost their life due to a fire attributed to chip pans at Upper Bennett Street, Foyle in November 2014.

NIFRS is urging people to put safety first when it comes to cooking chips as part of this week's celebrations to ensure they protect themselves and their family from the dangers of fire.

Kevin O’Neill, Group Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:
“National Chip Week - designed to celebrate chips as one of our culinary favourites, provides an ideal opportunity for us to remind people to take extra care when cooking with pans, especially ones containing hot oil. Chip pans are well known for being a fire risk, but simply changing the way you cook can prevent fire. Our advice is that you stop using a traditional chip pan and invest in an electric temperature controlled deep fat fryer or cook your chips in the oven.

“If it isn’t possible to give up using a chip pan in your home be sure to carefully follow our all year round fire safety advice to reduce fire hazards and cook safely. Remember - never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil; never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on and never put the food in the pan if the oil begins to give off smoke, just turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool, otherwise it could catch fire. Do not cook if under the influence of alcohol and remember to keep your grill pan clean.

“Chips will be on the menu in a lot of homes next week, but remember that even the smallest distraction, like answering the phone when using chip pans to cook, can lead to a fire in a matter of moments so the best advice is to ensure you maintain your concentration and don’t leave pans on the heat unattended.”

NIFRS have provided the following tips for Chip Pan Fire Safety:
• Never leave any cooking unattended
• Do not start cooking if you have had alcohol or are feeling tired
• Always have an adult attending a chip pan, not a minor
• Keep chip pans clean. A build-up of fat and oils can easily catch fire.
• If your chip pan catches fire: do not move it; do not tackle the fire yourself; never throw water on a chip pan or grill pan fire; turn off the heat if safe to do so but never lean over the pan to reach the controls.
• Leave the kitchen and close the door behind you.
• Get everyone out of the house.
• Dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service.

For more information on chip pan fires view our infographic on Pinterest.