Fire Service warns of traditional chip pan danger

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Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is warning people of the dangers of using traditional chip pans during National Chip Week.

National Chip Week runs from February 16 – 22, and NIFRS says that chip pans are one of the most common causes of fire in the home.

In 2014 NIFRS attended 86 accidental dwelling fires caused by chip pans, a slight decrease on the 2013 figure of 92 accidental dwelling fires caused by chip pans.

Tragically, one person lost their life due to a fire attributed to chip pans last year.

NIFRS is urging people to put safety first when it comes to cooking to help protect themselves and their families from the dangers of fire.

Group Commander of the NIFRS Kevin O’Neill 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.”