London Fire Brigade

Take care with your chips to save your bacon

21 February 2011

Many people think of chip pans as being  from a bygone era but London Fire Brigade’s latest figures show they still cause a significant number of fires in homes across the capital.

The Brigade is using National Chip Week (21st-27th February) to warn people of the dangers of chip pans and traditional fat fryers.

The Brigade has issued new statistics which show that chip pans still cause hundreds of fires across London each year. The figures, taken from the last five years, show that:

Over 2800 accidental fires in Londoners’ homes were caused by chip pans.

  • Four out of ten chip pan fires result in injury or death.
  • Kitchen fires account for six out of ten fires in people’s homes.
  • In the last five years there were over 17,500 fires in London kitchens, causing over 2600 injuries and 24 deaths – one of which was caused by a chip pan.

Dave Brown, Assistant Commissioner for the Brigade’s Operations and Mobilising Department said: “Our message is simple – be extremely careful when you’re deep frying food or you could be risking your home, your property or even your life.

“The fat in chip pans can easily catch fire so you should never leave the pan unattended, not even for a minute.”

To stay safe in your kitchen, follow the Brigade’s chip pan safety tips:

  • Think about replacing your chip pan with an electric fryer – they are safer to use.
  • If you have to use a chip pan never fill it more than a third full with oil or fat.
  • Take extra care if you’ve been drinking alcohol – it might be safer to eat a cold snack or get a takeaway than use your fryer.
  • Never leave the pan unattended with the heat on – not even for a few seconds.
  • Don’t put chips in the pan if the oil has started smoking. Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool down or it could catch fire. 

If your pan does catch fire:

  • Don't move the pan.
  • Never put water into a flaming chip pan – you’ll create a huge fire ball.
  • If it's safe to do so - turn off the heat.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly.

Notes to editors

The Brigade’s chip safety campaign forms part of its kitchen fire safety campaign  COOKSAFE, which was launched last September. During COOKSAFE  the Brigade produced ‘Recipes for Disaster,’ a booklet which highlights just how easily kitchen fires can start.

For more home fire safety advice, please visit www.london-fire.gov.uk/yoursafety.asp 

You can also find us on Facebook or @Londonfire on Twitter. 

For more information contact the Brigade’s press office on 020 8536 5922.