Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service are urging chip lovers to take care when they indulge in one of the nation’s favourite foods during National Chip Week (17 – 23 February 2014) and also be extra careful when cooking for their loved ones to celebrate Valentine’s tonight.
Last year, over half of all accidental fires in the home started in the kitchen, with chip pan fires having a very high rate of casualties.
Leaving a chip pan, or any cooking, 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.
Moreno Francioso, Community Fire Prevention said:
“From the chip shop to the kitchen table, chips will quite rightly be on the menu this week, along with cooking, to impress a loved one on Valentines day.
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 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.”
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 monthly.
Mix this with alcohol and you create a recipe for disaster. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed, so take care if you’re having a few drinks over Valentine’s. The cause is usually people drinking alcohol and then falling asleep whilst cooking or smoking. It only takes one act of carelessness when smoking or cooking to result in someone losing their home, their possessions or, ultimately, their life.
If you have been drinking you might not wake up when a fire takes hold, particularly if you do not have a working smoke alarm. Even when the alarm is raised and firefighters enter a home, you could have already lost consciousness and died through smoke inhalation.
Intoxication can also cause drowsiness and can make you less alert to the signs of fire. When you do discover a fire, the alcohol/drugs can heighten feelings of disorientation, making it difficult for you to escape.
Chloe Drinkwater, Community Safety & Substance Misuse team said:
“If you’re not out celebrating Valentine’s Day, chances are you’ll be cooking a meal at home. It’s important to remember that alcohol can make you clumsy, drowsy and more likely to start fires. You should never cook when drunk – the consequences can be fatal.”
Many fire deaths including alcohol as a contributing factor involve people who may live alone or have alcohol problems. If you have friends or relatives like this pay them a visit and make sure their homes are safe from fire.
For further advice on fire safety visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafety.
Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service on 01926 423231.
For further information on Community Safety and Alcohol visit www.safeinwarwickshire.com.
To get in touch with Warwickshire’s Community Safety team, email:firstname.lastname@example.org.